Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Morbid Jealousy - blinded by emotion


Many see jealousy as a normal and even desirable emotion. Not being jealous is viewed by many as a problem or a sign that your partner doesn't care enough. But there are times when jealousy can become unhealthy for the person experiencing it and for those involved. 

Morbid Jealousy, Delusional Jealousy or Othello’s Syndrome describe the same psychiatric condition and a person suffering from this will have strong beliefs that their partner is being unfaithful despite having little or no evidence to support their claims. It is often described in detail as a range of irrational thoughts and emotions, together with associated unacceptable or extreme behavior, in which the dominant theme is a preoccupation with a partner’s sexual unfaithfulness based on unfounded evidence. (Source)  

Also, there are other abnormal behavior patterns linked to this delusion such as stalking, verbal or physical abuse, emotional abuse, etc. Although this condition will be presented more as a diagnosis, it is more of a symptom linked to other psychiatric conditions as it was rarely diagnosed as a pure condition.  

The aspects that distinguish normal jealousy from obsessional jealousy:

- the person who is jealous spends a lot of time concerning about their partner’s unfaithfulness and  find it difficult to concentrate on something else.

- limiting the partner’s freedom and checking the partner’s behavior impairs the relationship (controlling behaviors such as monitoring movements, inquiring about relationships with different people when there is clearly no romantic interest, refusing to allow the partner to have time by themselves or with their friends) There is also a need of control in other aspects such as spending money, dressing in a certain way or even stalking the person (following them to work or school to gather evidence for their infidelity).

- since this type of jealousy is delusional the partner will not understand the situation even if they are given strong evidence. They will see signs of unfaithfulness in almost any interaction or behavior.

- intimidation may be a common way for the partner to gain control. Threatening to end the relationship, to hurt you or your loved ones, or even to destroy your property are strong signs of Morbid Jealousy or Borderline Personality Disorder.

People suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder may also suffer from Morbid Jealousy as the essential feature of Paranoid Personality Disorder is a pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such as their motives as interpreted as malevolent. The pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. (DSM IV TR) Actually some of the diagnostic criteria (3 out of 7) for Paranoid Personality Disorder can be linked to Morbid Jealousy:

- suspects, without sufficient basis, that the others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her;

- preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates;

- has recurrent suspicion, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.

The same applies to Borderline Personality Disorder as it may also be a predisposing condition for morbid jealousy. Some of the aspects involved in Borderline Personality Disorder and Morbid Jealousy are:

- feelings of unworthiness

- anxiety about rejection and abandonment

- perception of unfaithfulness in partner

- affective instability and anger

- primitive defense mechanisms such as projection or unacceptable impulses

Delusional Disorder – Jealous Type is the definition of Morbid Jealousy in DSM. The presence of one or more non-bizarre delusions that persist at least 1 month would be sufficient for diagnostic. Psychosocial functioning varies as some people suffering from DD-JT might be unimpaired by their condition. However, when psychosocial functioning is impaired, this is a result of the person’s delusional beliefs. For example, they might avoid going out with their partner from fear that their partner might be attracted to somebody else.

According to DSM IV TR, the person suffering from DD-JT usually confronts the spouse or lover and attempts to intervene in the imagined infidelity by restricting the spouse’s autonomy, secretly following them, investigating the imagined lover, or even attacking the spouse.

There are different theories concerning Morbid Jealousy. Freud believed that extreme jealousy was linked to latent homosexuality, Klein believed that it emerged from the rivalry between son and father. Others have claimed that the level of competiveness is important as the person uses projective mechanisms and identification with their rival.

Some worrying aspects of this condition are self harm or violence. For the other partner involved in there is high risk of isolation, a loss of identity, or developing a mental disorder such as anxiety and depression.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jan Svankmajer - Surreal Animation

A few years ago I watched Alice, but not the classic story we are all accustomed with. The Alice I watched was kind of dark and it somewhat reminded me of my own childhood curiosity. My grandmother’s old house was fascinating for me. Her old furniture and drawers that contained the most bizarre combinations were like another world that needed to be explored. I would spend hours searching house, looking at old photographs, smelling the old perfume bottles, and reading old magazines she had around. When I first saw this movie it remembered me of the distinctive smell that old furniture and old books had. I love that smell and I love this old movie.

Jan Svankmajer not only directed Alice but it also managed to bring surrealism at a whole new level. His art and movies might not appeal to the general public but he definitely manages to impress with his creative and dark works mostly using the stop motion technique.  He influenced a lot of other artists like Brothers Quay or Tim Burton.

Some of his famous works are: Little Otik, Faus, and Lunacy. If you’re not curious yet, the next videos will make you search for some more: 


This one may be offensive to some, as it shows nudity.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

5 Christmas Traditions Meant to Traumatize Children

Christmas is a wonderful time of overindulging, overdrinking, and eventually ending up in the E.R. with alcohol induced psychosis. But there is also the spending time with your family part, while sharing the same stories over and over again until you want to lock yourself in the basement and cling to your childhood blanket while rocking back and forth and quietly sobbing Why, why, why? . Also, let’s not forget having to play the” I’m so successful card in front of your relatives” while your mother proudly looks at you. Well, at least this is how it happens where I’m from and I enjoy doing it while getting my bad cholesterol high enough to convince my heart is time for it to commit suicide. But other countries like to celebrate Christmas in their own unique way…

Uncle Alberto, would you pass the salt please?

1 – Eating With Your Dead Relatives

In Portugal, Christmas is celebrated just like in any other country, with fun, lots of food, and lots of drinking. Oh, they also invite their dead relatives to dinner. Imagine being a child during Christmas meal and asking your mom why she put extra places at the table. “- Honey, these are the extra seats for our dead relatives”. Oh, I’m sorry, do you find that disturbing? It seems that eating at the same table with the souls of the dead will bring you a great harvest next year.

2- Tió de Nadal (Christmas Log)

We only want the soul of your first born.
It seems that there is a popular tradition in Catalan communities involving a…log. People have to take care of the log before Christmas day; also, the log is called called Caga tió, which translates in something like “shit log”. Some people even draw a face on it, a smiley face to make things creepier than a photograph of broken vintage dolls. The anthropomorphic log is fed every night and covered with a blanket to be warm because you wouldn’t want it to get angry. But this doesn’t happen because people care about the log, no! People are actually feeding the log so that it would be prepared to defecate on Christmas Day. Yes, the log is supposed to produce a gift. Oh, but it gets weirder. On Christmas day the family gathers around the log and starts singing:

"Caga tió,
caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
caga tió!"
…which means(honestly!):
Shit log,
shit turrón,
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don't shit well,
I'll hit you with a stick,
shit log!

One member of the family will then have to, uhm, retrieve the gift produced by the log.
Now imagine being a kid and entering your living room on Christmas day to witness your family gathered in a Satanic ritual manner, hitting a piece of wood with sticks while commanding it to defecate. Because singing carols and exchanging gifts is definitely lame.

3 – Mummers Visit 

Mummers - RPGs are for losers.  Source
The members of small communities would disguise themselves and travel from house to house at Christmas. This tradition can be traced back at least to the Middle Ages. They usually symbolize a battle between good and evil. Mummers usually are disguised and they either wear masks or have their face painted with black. Now I won’t discriminate here, there are different rituals like this in probably every country. But for a person who doesn’t have this type of tradition in their country this is as random and bizarre as an encounter with Galactic Crab Man. In Romania, we have The Goat which is basically the same thing. A bunch of people go from house to house dressed in goats. In that video those kids are just groping that goat, but hey, it’s tradition. I remember being a kid, I got a little traumatized when I first saw this and I found it hard to understand why everybody was letting that dragon looking monster inside my house. Was I about to be sacrificed to that abomination? Well, later I learned it was just for good luck.

This is how nightmares are born.

What’s worse than people disguised in scary costumes and abstract looking goats? A dead horse. Actually, only the skull, which makes it even weirder if you think about it. This is very similar to The Goat tradition as people go from house to house for good luck. So, after hearing a knock in the cold Christmas night, you will open your door to what it can only be described as a resurrected puppet from a nightmarish show meant to please Satan..and according to that picture, some guy from the realm of dwarfs and magic mushrooms. 

5 – Krampus 

When you thought Christmas couldn't get any better.

Ah Krampus, I saved the best for last. In Germanic tradition people don’t bother disguising themselves as luck bringing animals. No, they prefer taking the form of child eating demons named Krampus. He is Santa’s private bodyguard and follows him while he delivers presents; the legend says that Krampus will kidnap and bring children to his cave where he will devour them if they are naughty and don’t listen to their parents. Young men roam the streets in December dressed as Krampus and scaring children with chains and eerie sounding bells. Now that's an enjoyable way to spend your holidays. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

7 Random Facts (Episode 5)

1 - The official beverage in Ohio is tomato juice. It seems that Ohio did a lot of work to popularizing tomatoes in the late 1800s and they even wanted to declare it the official state fruit.

2- BMW was actually an aircraft engine manufacturing company but after being forced to cease production by the terms of Versailles Armistice Treaty, the company shifted to producing motorcycles in 1923. Automobiles production began in 1928-29 with the first car named Dixi. 

3- Upper and lower case letters are named like that because of their positioning which was either on the top or lower case of the printing press which used movable type. The individual type blocks used in hand typesetting were stored in wooden or metal drawers known as cases.  

4- According to this study laughing lowers levels of stress and strengthens immune system. Now I will tickle myself every morning.  

5 – There is a common misconception regarding the digestion of chewing gum. People will either tell you that it will stick to your stomach or they will tell you that it takes a lot to digest. It doesn’t so it will pass through your digestive system as any other type of food.

6- The first movie to ever show a kiss on camera was actually called The Kiss and it was a re-enactment of the kiss between May Irwin and John Rice from the final scene of a stage musical called The widow Jones. This happened in 1896 so you can imagine how scandalized everybody was after seeing it. Here is the movie

7- Gabby Gingras is a girl who doesn’t feel pain. Although most of us would be jealous of her, this is actually a very life threatening condition.  Because she is unable to feel pain she cannot protect herself from harmful situations. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Ferrari Influenced The World Of Supercars

Ferrari is a name that most people will recognize and also associate with red colored cars, but their style, legacy and history goes way beyond a simple color. Everybody knows that Enzo Ferrari only made production cars to help fund the Scuderia, the racing division. While these production cars quickly became known for their extravagant style and extreme road performance, Enzo saw his customers with certain disgust because he felt that they were buying his cars for the glamour of owning a Ferrari and not for the performance. To make things a bit more interesting, some true competition was needed and what better name to compete against than Lamborghini?
This is a Lamborghini tractor. Fancy, eh?

The only problem is that in the 50s, Lamborghini wasn’t exactly making some of the most incredible cars but was known as the largest agricultural equipment manufacturer, meaning mostly tractors. Despite this fact, he did have a passion for beautiful cars and he could afford quite a nice collection, some of which were made by Ferrari. The problem is that his wife kept burning the clutch on one of them, so Lamborghini took it upon himself to find and fit a better clutch on the expensive supercar. After doing this, he went to Ferrari and told him that he found a solution to their problem, Enzo’s response wasn’t very welcoming and he actually refused to take advice from a “tractor manufacturer”. Furious, Lamborghini decided to start making road cars with only one goal in mind, to create a grand touring car that would rival any Ferrari. The first models rolled off the line in the mid 60s and were quickly recognized for their performance, power and comfort and when the Miura was introduced in 1966, everything changed and a mid-engine design became the standard.
This is considered one of the most beautiful cars. 
Lamborghini Miura
By the mid 60s, Ford had arranged to buy Ferrari but at the very last moment, Ferrari decided not to. After going home disappointed, Ford decided to show Ferrari how it is done and so they created the GT40 which ended Ferrari’s dominance at the 24 Hour Le Mans endurance race in 1966 and again in 1967, and again in 1968 and also in 1969.

When Enzo died, in 1988, the value of every car rose as did sales and the last car the commissioned, the F40 remains one of the most shocking cars to look at and one of the most unpleasant ones to drive.
Now, we have the Ferrari 458, a masterpiece in every way and if we think about the fact that 85% of Ferrari is owned by Fiat, things are going pretty well for the prancing horse.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

3 Famous Games From 1981 (II)

If you liked my article about the greatest games form 1980, you will surely love these cute games from 1981. Yeah, they probably seem like terrible games for somebody playing Skyrim, but let’s not forget the history of PC games and how this amazing fantasy world started.  The game industry became better and better over the years, so you will love to see how games have changed from one year to another. 1981 was a good year, not as prolific as 1980, but still had some important games. Here are some of the most popular:

1 - Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness

This is the first game from the series of RPGs called Ultima. It was a major hit and definitely the start of a new era in RPGs. Basically you were a hero set to save the world from an evil wizard (yes, not very original).

How do you play it ?
Well it doesn’t have the best setting in the world, but we’re ok with that as long as the story made sense. But the story is also a little bit weird when you think about the fact that one merchant was selling aircars and space shuttles. Anyway, who are we to judge a fantasy medieval science fiction game? So you find yourself in the world of Sosaria, trying to kill the Mondain, the evil sorcerer who is about to destroy the world. You can explore, fight with monsters and beasts, buy different things from the market, etc.

How do you win?
Well, the object of the game is to destroy the gem that keeps Mondain immortal. But before you do that, you will have to search for a time machine that will allow you to go back in time and kill the evil sorcerer.

Why was it so popular?
What was amazing about this game was the fact that the character was very customizable (for that time) and you got to choose your class (however, this was not a new thing, it also happened in the game Rogue from 1980) .

Can I still play it?
I found a few downloadable versions on the internet but didn’t manage to make them work. Here’s an online version and a YouTube video to give you an idea about how the game looked if you are not in the mood to play.

2 - Ms. Pac-Man

Yes, weird name because her name is Man, but at least they made a game for girls too. You are probably wondering why I’m adding this game to the best 1981 games. Well, it looks exactly like Pac-Man but what made it different was the fact that it addressed a female audience.

How do you play it?
Well, it’s basically the same as Pac-Man the original game: you eat dots, get points, eat ghosts, advance to the next level. However, there were a few changes such as different mazes and different changing colors. The ghosts movement pattern changes and players can no longer use the same strategy they used with the original Pac-Man. There are also different sound effects and music.

How do you win?
You eat all the dots and advance to the next level until you reach level 255. Unfortunately, 256th level seems to be unplayable.

Why was it so popular?
Ms. Pac-Man was part of Pac-Man and the programmers released it as an improved Pac-Man and it was also featured in an animated series as the wife of Mr. Pac-Man.

Can I still play it?

3 - Castle Wolfenstein

Castle Wolfenstein was a great game that marked the beginning of a new era in first-person shooters. The game is set in WWII so you get to be a part of history.  

How do you play it ?
The game begins with you getting a gun and some bullets from your dead cellmate and start killing the guards. You will have to explore the castle, impersonate Nazi soldiers, attack guards with grenades or guns, eat, drink wine, etc.

How do you win?
The object of the game is to find Top Secret plans and escape alive.

Why was it so popular?
It was pretty unique for its time. You got to steal Nazi clothes and impersonate soldiers or you could just threaten them to give you all they had. It also had an achievement system which gave you a military rank.

Can I still play it?
You can play it here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

5 Famous Video Games From 1980 (I)

There is something fascinating about old games, especially those from the 80s, when programmers needed to focus more on the storyline to keep the player interested, rather than cool graphics and effects. Those games were beautifully crafted and despite being extremely frustrating sometimes, they were fun to play. For all of you who feel a bit nostalgic, here are the best games from 1980.


Who doesn’t remember Pac Man? Even if you haven’t played this game, you definitely know it. It was released in May 22 in Japan. The dot eating man will definitely remain a pop culture icon of the 1980s.

How do you play it ?
You control Pac-Man and your mission is to eat all the dots from the screen. When the dots are eaten, you advance to the next level. But you will need to be careful about the enemies that come to get you. If they touch Pac-Man, he loses one life. Pac-Man will also be able to eat his enemy if he manages to eat the power pellets which are the bigger dots on the sides.

How do you win?
The game never ends and as long as you keep one life you can play it forever, but there are different bugs that might interfere with this and some say that it restarts at level 1 after level 255th.
Why was it so popular?
Well, first of all it managed to influence a lot of games and introduced the video game industry to power-ups (items that give you power for an amount of time), cut-scenes that featured comical sketches with Pac-Man, and it was also the first type of stealth game (a form of game where the player avoids enemies instead of fighting them).

Interesting fact: when Google changed their homepage into a Pac-Man game, companies across the world experienced slight drops of productivity. Some companies even went as far as banning the Google homepages from their employers’ computers. Apparently, Pac-Man homepage cost companies world-wide about 120 million dollars. 

Can I still play it?
Of course you can, here’s a flash version of the game, I had to pause writing this article for a long time when I discovered this website. 

2-The Prisoner

Early Apple users are probably accustomed with this adventure game. While not so amazing on the graphic side, The Prisoner was definitely something unique with its exciting storyline and pretty hard challenges.

How do you play it?
You control an intelligence agent who has resigned his job; he finds himself abducted and left on an island. Everything and everybody in this game will try to convince the player to reveal a 3 digit number that signifies the reasons for his resign. Once the player reveals the number, the game ends. The object of the game is to escape the prison by exploring different areas and avoiding to be persuaded to reveal the numbers.  

How do you win?
Although the game can take a lot of time because of the vast number of locations to be explored, only a few would actually offer clues on how to escape.  
Why was it so popular?
It was popular because it was a pretty complex adventure game that took a lot of hours and wit to finish. A lot of gaming magazines at the time considered it to be one of the best games due to its unique challenges.
Interesting fact: one of the methods the game uses to make the player give their 3 digit number is by showing an error that resembles a game crash very commonly see in Apple computers. The users would probably investigated the error and while trying to correct it they might have used the command List ###, where ### were numbers. If the user used the numbers given by the game, the game ended.

Can I still play it?
Sure you can, I wasn’t able to figure out how to start it but I managed to play the second one. Apparently the second Prisoner has the same story, only better graphics.


The Rogue computer game was a dungeon crawling video game and an early fantasy role-playing game. Rogue introduced players to dungeon games and influenced a lot of RPGs to come such as Diablo.

How do you play it?
The player explores a number of (unfortunately unmapped) dungeons and fights with monstars.

How do you win?
The goal is to find the Amulet of Yendor at the lowest level and then ascend to the surface.

Why was it so popular?
If you are an RPG fan, you probably realize why this game was so popular and influential; if not, let me put it this way: without Rogue the RPG world of dungeons and caves would have been very different. It also introduced turn based combat in an RPG game, which was very new at that time. It was improved in time and it managed to grow to include all types of features such as potions, scrolls, different types of weapons, etc.

Can I still play it?
Sure you can, here is a link to an online version. I was killed by a snake after 10 seconds of playing.  

4-Zork I

Zork I was pretty special since it was an interactive fiction game and started a trilogy that managed to become famous world-wide.  I loved this game when I was young, it really helped me improve my English and it was almost like an interactive book.
At the beginning, there was a simple introduction:
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
After this, the game started.

How do you play it?
You typed commands: look at the mailbox, open mailbox, take leaflet, read leaflet, etc. You are an adventurer who will have to explore this wonderful and fascinating world.

How do you win?
The object of the game is to collect treasures that need to be installed on a trophy case. To do this, the player will have to solve several puzzles.

Why was it so popular?
It was the beginning of adventure games, text based games which were both educational and fun.
Interesting fact: this game can be played in the game (gameception?) Call of Duty: Black Ops by accessing an old computer.
Can I still play it?
Of course you can, here it is

5-Space Panic 

Space Panic was an arcade game about, well, space and killing aliens. It is supposed to have been influenced by Heiankyo Alien and it is known as the first platform game. 

How do you play it?
The player is seen from the side as he is trying to kill aliens by digging holes and luring the aliens inside.

How do you win?
You will have to survive a lot of levels that become almost impossible to the end. Did I mention your oxygen during the game is limited?

Why was it so popular?
Well, it was easy to play and fun. Also, the game allowed two players, which was pretty cool for that time.

Can I still play it?
I couldn’t find online sources to play it, but here’s a youtube video of it.