Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Off the mark

New: Laboratory

Now available: Blog Laboratory. My other blog, to experiment with all things that have to do with blogging. Html, templates, sidebars; the lot.
I know it's probably boring for you, but I like having a little playground of my own to try stuff out. All in the name of science - no wait, blogging. The makings of the ultimate blogging experience. Recipe for genius.
Well, enough with the talking, start working! Okay, I will. Honestly.


Monday, 29 May 2006

Another parody

Sorry, but this is only for those of you that speak Dutch. It's Star Wars with Dutch voices.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Look sir: dodos!

I know, it's been a long time since my last "big" blog entry, so why not do one right now?

The picture to the left of this text is a dragon by the famous Dutch artist M.C. Escher. I didn't know he made it until just a minute ago, when I found the picture on the internet. So, it's not mine, but mr. Escher's.

My parents used to have this picture on the wall of the attic. In colour. I've always been fascinated by it; how come it's biting its own tail? Why does its head comes through its wings? And the tail, too? What's the point in that? What are the shards at its feet? Why does it only have two legs, shaped like chicken legs? Many questions, without obvious answers.

In a way, it was an early encounter with Escher's work, which I later grew to love. I love patterns like this one, or this, and I even have a clock with this image. Still without knowing the Dragon was his, by the way. I just love those metres-long patterns of houses, cubes, birds and lizards. In a way they fit perfectly. On some level, it all made sense. The empty spaces between the fish were shaped like ducks, because there is no emptiness in nature. All life forms exist at the edge of the next. All shapes and sizes can be reduced to a few basic concepts.

Or so it seemed. Extinction was just a thing of millions of years ago, and it didn't occur to me that species go extinct in the present day. There is emptiness in nature, although maybe not naturally. Mankind is responsible for quite a part of that. Destruction seems to be a dominant trait in man, coupled with an arrogant attitude about "being superior" and "ruling all other lifeforms". Catastrophe was bound to happen.

I've always been surprised at this general arrogance; the ease of claiming superiority and dominance over other species. Where is the proof of that? I know, it says so in the Bible, but if you live by the book that literally, you should've read that it's also our duty to guard and shepherd these other animals and plants.

However, I do know not accredit the Bible that much. Humanity just assumed its dominant position. Funny how people always think that they are the best around, and not some other group. It's true about this as much as about racism. Never will you hear, say, a Jew, talk about how, say, Eskimos are the Chosen People of God.

Of course, I make the same mistake by blaming others and not myself, but still. I try to have at least a sense of logic behind it.

So people always assume they are better than animals. I'm sure you've heard people say how [insert animal here] has no feelings, so it's alright to go fishing/hunting/slaughter/abuse/other. Or how a certain species is "primitive". I hate those things. People tend to forget that humanity is not exactly very "civilized" or "evolved to perfection". We are not the epiphany of evolution; not the divine creatures; not God's gift to the world. We are merely a link in the chain that is evolution. A subspecies of monkeys with something called conscience. You wouldn't say, huh? But for a few centuries, we are a bunch of mammoth-hunting, walking apes with spears. The spears just became a little better, and noisier.

Why do people kill off entire planets of wildlife? Because of arrogance, and because of money. Money, the root of all evil, some say. Money, which is the root of all evil to those that do not have it, and causes them to do evil things to get it.

Dodo? Extinct.
Darwin's galapagos mouse? Gone.
Balinese tiger? Lost.
Tasmanian tiger? Not a trace.

There are currently over one and a half million species of animals threatened with extinction, as can be seen on these two websites.

I will not claim that these species are essential to their respective surroundings, as I am a believer in the Chaos Theory that states that "life will always find a way". I will just say it is arrogant of man to rid the world of nature.

Wildlife can be beautiful if you're open for it. You don't need to see it, but just leave it alone. We've wasted enough of it. Enjoy it while you still can.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

It's called a "tan".

This video is a really, really nice spoof of Revenge of the Sith.
Warning: do not watch this during drinking, or your monitor might get wet.

Thursday, 18 May 2006


I just saw this little movie. It's about bunnies. Sort of.
*waves hand*
You do want to see this movie.

The Dark Side

"Is the Dark Side stronger?"

That is what Luke asked Yoda in one of the original Star Wars movies. As most of you know, the old Jedi Master answered with "no; quicker, easier, more seductive".

Surely everyone is familiar with the concept of "the Dark Side", by whatever name you call it. It's being selfish and hurtful; sadistic; evil. It can be very tempting when your boss wrongfully lowers your salary, or your girlfriend leaves you for your best friend, or even when the person in front of you in line takes forever to pay. It's so easy to start shouting, fighting, scheming, or taking revenge.

Most people do not, however. There is a certain line that people don't usually cross. Some turn to the Dark Side easily and readily; others will not even when all hell descends on them.

I would love to say I'm in the latter category. If you knew me, you might still even say I am. But I'm not. I can take a lot, but when I'm angry, I'm really angry. My yin is a lot bigger than my yang, inside. But you might never know, because that is not how I ordinarily behave. I'm just a good guy with a fascination for all things evil.

"Ormus senses a strange dichotomy in you, as he does in all would-be heroes."
- Ormus, Diablo II

During my childhood I played a lot with Lego. You know, pirates and soldiers. My pirates always won. Because they're cool. They are the interesting guys; not those boring good souls that joined the marines to "make the world a better and safer place".

Similarly, I was a fan of every "bad guy" or anti-hero in whatever movie or series. Skeletor in He-Man. Vegeta in DragonBall Z. Angelus in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Venom from Spiderman. Violator from Spawn. The Darkness. Bill. And of course, Darth Vader. And this guy:

It's these bad people that are the most interesting. Actors love to play the bad guys; writers love creating them and making them do bad things; the audience just loves them. People don't want shallow, superficial bad guys anymore; they need to have some sort of reason for their being evil. A bad childhood at the very least.

But isn't it just the fact that these guys don't follow the rules? Don't we all want to break the rules sometimes? Just "having a little fun"? We just need that push, that feeling of "I cannot be caught", that final step, and we fall to the Dark Side. Hard.

Curiously, when we've fallen, we usually get back to the Light. And think it was justified, and that we're still a good person. No matter what atrocities, what sins, or what crimes we commit, we keep thinking of ourselves as "good".

And in a way we are. Because does that sin erase every good thing we have ever done? Does that one crime mean we can never return to society? Lately, it seems like many people would answer that with "yes", but I disagree. Everyone deserves a second chance, and maybe even a third or fourth. "You're never too old to learn", and stuff.

But what worries me most is that a lot of people have no balance in being good/bad. I know, that sounds really zen and corny, but that's how I feel. Why don't they just accept themselves, including their darker aspects? Suppressing those "evil" urges only makes those urges stronger, while acknowledging them and accepting them weakens them, and makes you stronger...

Wow, that sounded like a cartload of crap.

But still. Think about it. Bring balance to your Force. Embrace your Dark Side. As long as you don't start killing younglings and stuff.


Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Yeah! More cartoons!

I hope you enjoy these. Feedback would be appreciated.

Digging holes

If you were to dig a hole from where you are standing all the way
through the center of the Earth, where would you end up?

Milton, chapter two

***WARNING! Sexual descriptions. Not for minors. ***

Rogers fifth year of working at the Milton Hotel Amsterdam had started out well enough. Inquiring the needs of the very wealthy guests and complying with them, had been a challenge sometimes, but now that the Milton sisters were staying at ‘his’ hotel, he had the honour of helping them with their sometimes unusual requests. Buying an exclusive red velvet set of lingerie for Micky was definitely one he’d remember for a long time. He wondered what they wanted of him this time.
Knocking at the large door of the Big Suite, he heard the girls laughing hard and he smiled. Were they getting down and dirty with each other, now that the guy had left them? He wouldn’t mind taking his place…
The thought excited him, but he stayed focused. This was his job. They probably didn’t even think of him as a human being; the snobs.
He frowned when the girls went on laughing, not responding. He knocked the door again and this time, the sisters became quiet. One of them said, “Come in.”
“Good morning, my ladies. How can I help you?”
Roger ignored the mess, but he had more difficulties keeping his eyes from the bodies of Rome and Micky, barely covered by the white sheets. Look at their faces, he thought to himself.
“Well… Roger, isn’t it? You see, Roger, we’ve got a little problem. The guy that was with us tonight, he kind of… stole our stuff.”
“What, your purses and money?”
“Well, no… just our… clothes. And a suitcase.”
“I see. I will report it instantly. Do you happen to have the man’s name or address?”
“Unfortunately not. But Roger… could you make sure we get some new clothes, please?” Micky asked, shyly.
“I’ve got a better idea. Could you stay and keep us some company? And relieve some of the stress and worry,” Rome whispered softly, getting up from the bed. The sheets fell off her gorgeous body and she walked towards him, stark naked.
Roger couldn’t help but stare and mutter incoherently, as Rome’s hands grabbed his wrists and pulled him gently to the bed. This isn’t happening, he thought. His eyes roved over her tanned body, adoring her flat belly with the pierced belly-button; the round, soft breasts, topped with the darker flesh of her erect nipples; and the smooth, recently shaved pubic mound.
“Rome, what are you doing?” Micky asked, breaking the spell. “You’re not seducing this guy when we’re trying to get our stuff back!”
“I really should go now…” Roger regained control of himself and remembered his duty. He should report the theft and get the girls some new clothes.
“You’re not leaving us now, are you?” Rome asked sweetly, taking his right hand and placing it on her warm breast. “I could really use some male company right now, because I’m so scared…”
Automatically, Rogers hand cupped her firm breast, squeezing it gently. She licked her lips and brought them to his. He wanted to kiss her lightly, but she forced her tongue in his mouth, to which he naturally responded.


I have doubts about posting more of the Milton story; I don't want to attract the wrong crowd. And besides, most of it is on my old computer and it'll take some time to get it onto my new one. So this is probably the last chapter of "Milton"...

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Wait! There's more!

... good stuff, that is. It's Ryan vs. Dorkman.


Sunday, 14 May 2006

Red button

Please do not click the red button. Thank you.

Saturday, 13 May 2006

"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am..."

You just got to watch this.
It's Star Wars. It's fun. It's an awkward phonecall after the DeathStar exploded. Just watch.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Membership of the PLB!

Just a few hours ago I sent an e-mail to the guy I mentioned in my "Mac Windo" entry, and already it seems they want to have me aboard their Official PLB Fan Club! And it's all because of this site.
Unless there are serious objections from the other members, I'm in! Thanks luuke, Rex0 and Vicomte (and the others that have approved or will soon but which I haven't heard from at this time)!

DragonFang / NecRomance

PS. DV you do know neither nickname has anything to do with any emotional, physical or spiritual preference of mine, don't you? ;)

Milton, chapter one

This is the first part of a short story I've worked on a few years back. I mentioned it in my first entry; it's the spoof about some celebrity girl. No points for guessing who. There seems to be no rule on Blogger or Blogspot that forbids this kind of text, but if I'm wrong please inform me so I could take it off the net.

The following text contains some references to sexual conduct and includes some language that may be offensive to some people. Not suitable for minors.

“Wake up, sis!”

Rome Milton was rudely being torn from her sweet dreams by her younger sister Micky. The sun shone brightly through the open curtains of the luxurious hotel bedroom. Micky’s big green eyes looked worried and desperate, as
Rome tried to remember where she was and how she’d gotten there. A light smile curved around her lips as the night before came back to her. Ah, yes. The threesome. Micky, herself and the dark-haired stranger had had quite a little party in the five-star Amsterdam hotel. The things they had done with each other…

Rome, he’s taken our stuff!”

Not quite awake yet, and also still enjoying the thoughts of hot, naked bodies doing everything naughty,
Rome became annoyed.

“What are you talking about? What stuff?”

“Our toys,
Rome! He took our toys and just vanished!”

Suddenly, she was very awake. The toys. That son-of-a-bitch.

sat up on the bed, and looked around the room. She and Micky were both completely naked, sitting on the soft double bed with the white silk sheets just covering their shapely legs. A white, antique alarm clock and some of the sisters’ fine jewellery lay on the little oaken cupboards; the hotel telephone thrown off sometime during the night. The large dinner table across the room, with half-empty plates and glasses; remnants of the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Some chairs, sitting and lying all across the room; and finally, the huge mirror covering the opposite wall. The reflection of her sister’s sweet breasts in the mirror gave Rome another flash-back, but she resolutely put it aside. There were more pressing matters to attend to.
Their purses were still there; on the floor in the corner. Strange that he hadn’t taken them with him. There was an unfamiliar CD lying next to it.

None of their outfits were still in the room. No pyjamas, but that was to be expected, because they seldom wore any; but no dresses either. Not that she was looking forward to be wearing her evening gown for a second day, but now there was nothing for them to wear at all. Even Micky’s new set of lingerie was gone. But most importantly, their suitcase with their extensive collection of sex toys was missing.

That filthy slut of a man is going to pay for that, she thought. Did he have any idea how long it took for them to build such an exquisite collection of dildos, vibrators,
massage creams and adult movies?

Quickly she reached for the telephone on the floor. She picked it up and dialled the number for the hotel reception.

“Hello, could you please send someone up to the Big Suite? We kind of have some trouble here…”

“Of course,
Miss. I will send Roger right away.”

“Thank you.”

As she put the horn down, she looked down into Micky’s eyes. She looked distraught and was obviously waiting for whatever action her big sister decided to take.

“Don’t worry, Mick, it’ll be okay.”

“I’m not so sure, sis. I mean, we haven’t got any clothes! How are we going to get out of here and back home? In the nude?”

A shiver went down
Rome’s body, ending between her legs.

“Why not?”, she asked, smiling devilishly.

“You dirty slut! Do you really want the whole world to see you naked?!”

“And you, too. How about that?”

For a moment, Micky was silent. Then they both began to giggle, until they were laughing so hard they didn’t hear the gentle knock at the door.

So, did you like it? Too much? Because this is just the first chapter. I only posted this part because I didn't know how far I could go on this site. Please lemme know.

And now for something completely different

I've decided to add some art to my blog. Yes, art. Don't be scared; it doesn't bite.

First of all, I've found some pictures of dragons on the web, including the one depicted to the left. I will post them regularly. However, I must mention something: I do not know who made them, and if there is any copyright on them, it is held by the artist and not by me. Just to be clear about that. If it's mine, I will let you know in the text that goes with it.

Secondly, I've found these two lovely poems by someone called Chaos. There doesn't seem to be any copyright on them. Click on the title to see the site I found them.

Metramorphisis, 2nd stage

Every night, just before I sleep,
I wrap myself up like a coccoon,
In blankets and in darkness,
So that I may change come next morning

A pair of wings, a long shining tail,
A new body to replace the old,
To change my everyday routine life,
And my narrow point of view

Yet, everyday I wake unchanged,
But I still hope that same night,
And I try yet again, for you never know,
Unless you try.

The Grand Departure

If Man had wings, they'd be used for war,
Razing, killing, and nothing more,
But dragons had wings that they did adore,
In the skies they would always soar

They looked at the humans and were amused,
Their minds were small, and easily abused
"Technology" had eventually sealed their fate,
Causing grief, sorrow, misery, and hate

The dragons did not like this and finally spoke,
"A single spell we shall now invoke"
Then, a bright light had appeared and shined,
They will return, the last day of our lives

The humans had thought that they finally won,
The Armageddon suns had combined into one
Little did they know the dragons had their way,
Now they are punished day after day

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Mac Windo

Okay, I'll admit it beforehand: this is going to sound geeky. Really Geeky. Just try to bear with me, even if the subject is no interest of yours. Maybe the following will make you appreciate it more, maybe your dislike of it will grow, maybe you'll still feel the same about it. I'm not trying to make you change your mind about it, or promote it, or encourage you to start cheering or flaming or threatening, or any of that. I just want to talk about it, and I'd like you to listen. Read. Whatever. If you don't like it, you're free to leave at any time.

Still here? Fantastic. Let's begin, shall we?

The subject of this blog entry is going to be about none other than the most well-known saga of science fiction movies (probably); the Galaxy far, far away. Yes, Star Wars.

Don't say I didn't warn you! I told you this was going to sound geeky!
You're still free to leave. Just, I don't know, click the "X" in the upper right corner of this screen, and you're gone.

Don't be shy. I will not be insulted. Leave, if you want to. Just go.

Still reading?
Ah, it looks like I still have an audience. What's your name, boy? What? Obi-Wan? You're kidding me, right? Oh, you are. It's Ewan.
Ladies and gentlemen, Obi-Wan is one of the main characters in the Star Wars movies (or is it "Starwars", without the space in between? Obviously something like this needs a lot space... nevermind). Now, I will not make a summary of Star Wars, because most of the fanatics that are still reading probably know a lot about it anyway, and just why would I want to waste my precious blog by making a summary of six movies?
What exactly do I want to tell you about Star Wars then, you probably wonder. Well, to be quite frank, I still do not know. I just wanted to tell you how I like the movies, the blogs at, some of the humour, some of the action, and how some things in the story are so similar to things in "the real world".
It's also sort of a warning, because I intend to write about Star Wars more often. Beware.

Why I like Star Wars is hard to explain. It's got action, drama, a little philosophy... I just like it. I see parallels between that galaxy, created by George Lucas, and this little planet. It's even got politics in it. Those of you who actually watched Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) might remember this bit of dialogue between Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former padawan Anakin Skywalker: "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." "Only Sith deal in absolutes." If you know that the Sith are the "bad guys", you might see how, in some indirect way, the president of the United States is being criticized here. Or that's just what I think.

One of the things that comes with this succesful concept, is merchandize. I love Star Wars, I must have one of the Star Wars lunchboxes/costumes/action figures/lightsabres/videogames/whatnot.
I both dislike and like this aspect. I dislike the fact that it's used for cheap commercial gain. But hey, it's a movie. Six of them. Made to cash in. It's not a charity. But still.
I do like some of the videogames. Usually when a videogame is made from a movie, it sucks. Big time. Try the Matrix game.
However, since there's six movies, lots of books, and millions of fans, there are several Star Wars games. And they don't all suck. In fact, most recent Star Wars games are quite good, often creating a story of their own, instead of sticking with the familiar movie scripts. Good examples are Republic Commando and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. I love Jedi Outcast!

Anyway, on the Star Wars website, there's a whole community of fans. They do blogs, too. And there's a particular group amongst them that has my attention. They call themselves a Pitiful Little Band (PLB), a quote from the movies, and as a member called NecRomance, I am - sort of - part of them.
Well, not quite. Here's the catch: most of them have paid some money to have certain privileges, like having a blog of their own on the site. It's called Hyperspace, and the people are Hyperspacers. I, however, am a mere Realspacer. I'm a member who didn't pay. I'm cheap. Well, actually, I'm financially challenged. I'm a Dutch student with no income besides my parents' contributions. I'm only a member of the PLB in the sense that I read their blogs and sometimes comment on them. I can't start a blog of my own on It's not half the fun, I think.

Therefore, I have followed the example of one of them: I made my own blog. Yes, you're looking at it. However, as much as I love Star Wars, there's a lot more in my life, so this blog is not all about the Force and purple lightsabres. It's about me, and about my interests, even if they're a bit boring or geeky sometimes. Deal with it.
Now, about this other guy who set up his own blog. He called it the Official PLB Fan Club and now it's actually sort of famous, with the right kind of crowd. They're having applications for other people who want to join in. And there lies my dilemma.
I want to join. I'd love to. I want to contribute, and make a name for myself, and discuss interesting issues with people who know what I'm talking about (especially Vicomte; I love hearing his arguments even when they are completely contraditory to my viewpoints. He has a way with words). But I don't want it to be a club of over a hundred different people who all want to give their opinion; I'd like a small group, like a couple of friends, chatting and socializing and talking dirt about immature sw.commers. I want to be part of their club, but I wouldn't want to be any part of it if they let me in.

I don't know. Maybe I just need to find another club of people. Another pitiful little band of brothers who know what I meant with the title on top of this entry. Why a certain lightsabre was a certain colour. Why antlers mean trouble. Why Yoda is green; hell I don't know. I just want to talk about one of my obsessions with fans that are equally obsessed, and preferably literate, eloquent, and patient with me.

Ah well. I still have this little blog. My hideout. My delirious ranting and psychedelic ponderings. My Dragon's Breath.

You know I'm not that geeky, right? Right?

Well, I am.
"May the Force be with you."

Darn, why did I have to say that? Of all the things I could have quoted...


Do it yourself

Well, I was quite happy with the picture I found and posted in my last entry, so I decided to try and make one myself. Lately I've been trying to work with Photoshop Elements and - due to not spending enough time on it - getting more confused with every try, but I decided I could do this. It's easy enough, right? So I made a little sketch in Paint, which turned out to be mostly circles in a pattern that was supposed to look like some kind of balloony dragon (not sure if "balloony" is an actual word, but it sounds cool), if that balloony dragon was made by a three-year-old. Anyway, it wasn't about this silly creature; that was just the starting point.

I loaded this marvelous creation into Photoshop Elements, and decided to make things happen like I usually do: trying stuff. Lot of fun, by the way, and I can recommend it. Though with a large program (meaning: with lots of possibilities) like Photoshop it could be very time-consuming as well.
I tried giving my dragon a little more "flesh" on his balloony bones, giving him some depth through shadows, and generally giving him a cooler look. Notice his "dragon's breath"; I'm quite proud of it, especially compared to the original breath. But then again, who breathes red circles?
Lastly, I gave it a cool background. I've never seen such cool background options to choose from! In the end I made red-yellowish circle-shaped background thingy, basically because I thought it looked cool.
So, one of my first real attempts at Photoshop Elements (and actually succeeding in getting something out of it) produced this beautiful drawing I'd like to call: "The enigma of eating pizza". Or just "Little dragon" if the other title is too.. artsy.

Hope you like it.

Friday, 5 May 2006

Scary dragon

How's this for a logo for my blog, eh? Found it on the web and thought it was kind of funny.


Thursday, 4 May 2006


Today is May 4th. Now, to some of you this will be just another day, but here in the Netherlands it's all about remembrance. At 8 PM (local time) everyone is silent for two minutes to remember all casualties, both in our country and abroad, since World War II started. Every person who has ever died in that big war or any other war since, is being remembered and honoured by us. Tomorrow will be a day of celebration, of Liberation, but today is a day for those who gave their life, if not voluntarily, for peace and freedom. It's an impressive moment that makes you realize how fragile the world we live in, is. It's even more impressive to think that many people still do not share the peace, liberty or human rights we have.
It is tempting to elaborate on how I think the Bush administration is an important factor in endangering those same values by forcing the world to share its views, incarcerating supposed criminals without a trial, and sheer arrogance in its dealings with the world. However, I will leave it at just that one sentence, and leave you to form your own opinion.
Tomorrow I will celebrate Liberation Day in Wageningen, the place where the peace was signed by the Allied Forces and the remains of the German army, May 5th 1945. Exactly 61 years ago. Some veterans from WW2 will be present (though their number decreases every year, naturally) and will be honoured, but most of all it's a day to celebrate. Many national artists will perform and everyone is happy. Everyone likes each other, regardless of nationality, culture, skin tone or any other differences. My only question is: Why only on May 5th?

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Scary experiments with electrical current

You may or may not have read my previous entry, in which I mention the research I'm currently working on. This time I elaborate on that more thoroughly, because I don't want you to be worried about me, innocent volunteers, bystanders or "the way science is practised these days". It's all quite harmless, really.
One of the possible explanations for physical symptoms with an insufficient medical explanation is sensitization. To learn more about this sensitization and how it can be measured, participants are undergoing several electrical shocks.
Yes, I am exposing volunteers to electrical current. It's only a mild stimulus and the participants decide how far they are willing to go. It's not some unethical thing, like Milgram's infamous experiments (1963) would be these days- those of you that know anything of psychology will know exactly what he did: he let volunteers supposedly administer electric shocks to other "volunteers" (which were in fact actors who did not recieve any electric shocks at all) in an adjacent room, every time they gave a wrong answer. The (actual) volunteers were told to increase the currency with each shock, despite the large "dangerous" labels on the machine, and the actors' screaming and sudden silence. Most volunteers went on for a long time, effectively showing that obedience to orders is a very powerful thing for many people.
However, that is not what I'm doing. For one thing, it would be unethical and the university would never approve of anything like this today. Experiments in the present day should refrain from causing physical or psychological injury to participants. To not immediately tell a volunteer what the experiment is about, is only possible under strict rules.
What I try to create is something called "sensitization":
Sensitization is an increase in response to a stimulus as a function of repeated presentations of that stimulus. It is the opposite in result of habituation - yet the conditions that produce them are, on the surface at least, the same: repetitions of exposure to the eliciting stimulus.
- Overmier, 2002
To this end I administer mild shocks to volunteers when they are watching a film. The shocks do not exceed the individual "somewhat unpleasant" limit that has been established before that. The time between these shocks is variable so they will come unexpectedly. Hopefully (for the sake of my experiment) the participants will have an increase in response afterwards, which is measured with three variables: detection threshold, "somewhat unpleasant" threshold, and sub-detection "guessing better than chance". Detection threshold means it's the intensity of the shock that people can barely feel, while the "somewhat unpleasant" threshold is used to measure exactly that: the stimulus intensity which people find "somewhat unpleasant" (it's forbidden to use the pain threshold). "Guessing better than chance" means that people are presented with shocks that are just below their detection threshold. Curiously, they tend to "guess" correctly whether or not they had received such a shock, more often than they would according to chance. It's believed to be some physical perception, without any cognitive interference, i.e. they have not consciously felt the shock, but physically. The aim is to decrease the scores on the first two measures, and to increase the scores on the last.
So you see, it's not all that bad. Participants are informed of the purpose and results of the research when all testing has been done. It's all quite ethical and clean. Trust me. Don't worry. Honestly.


Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioural study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.

Overmier, J. B. (2002). Sensitization, conditioning, and learning: Can they help us understand somatization and disability? Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43, 105-112.

Well, hello there!

Hello there, and welcome to the Dragon's Breath! My name is DragonFang, but you can call me Toby if you like. No, that's not my real name but who cares. So, this is my very first entry on this site, so please: be gentle.
What to write on a first entry? Well, I could tell you something about me, what I do, what my hobbies and interests are, which political views I have, or what I intend to blog about. Yes, that seems like a good idea, doesn't it? Well, there we go:
I am a student of Clinical Psychology in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Now, please don't ask me if I've ever done drugs; I haven't. I know Amsterdam is famous among foreign people for its tolerance towards the use of soft drugs, but that doesn't mean everybody here's smoking weed and listening to Bob Marley songs. Well, I occasionally do listen to Bob Marley, but I prefer rock. None of my friends use drugs as far as I know, and there's nothing cool about smoking weed, at least no more than just drinking beer, which is something I do do sometimes.
My age? What is my age, you ask? Well, does that matter? Well alright then, I'm 23 years old. Happy now? Any more daring questions you'd like me to answer? (*lots of shouting and screaming*) Yes, you? What food I like best? Is that the best question you could come up with? A bit lame, if you ask me! Well, let's see, I like Greek food... and Chinese, obviously. And I love Canard - yes that means "duck" in French. No, I'm not very good at French but I go to France on holidays sometimes. It's really a nice country, just a shame about all those French guys. Any more questions? favourite pastime? Well, it's hard to pick favourites, but I'd have to go for... spending time with my lovely girlfriend. No, I'm not telling her name. Yet.
Well, enough with the questions from the crowd, let's tell you some things I'd like to tell you. Actually, those people shouting questions at me were me, as well - surprise! - but instead of letting my split personalities ask me all kinds of irrelevant things, I will tell you... stuff. So just sit back and enjoy the ride.
I enjoy British humour. Now I know not everyone does, so I'll blend in some mild sarcasm and good ol' Dutch jokes, but if you still don't like it, you can, well, leave. It's that simple. Nobody is forcing you to read this - unless you're some poor soul I'm enthousiastically showing this blog to on my home computer, but you'll be used to things like that when you're a pal of mine, right?
So what do I enjoy, humour-wise? Monty Python, obviously. Rowan Atkinson, Keeping Up Appearances... but also Terry Pratchett, Finding Nemo, several Dutch comedians or Eminem lyrics. I like wittiness. I love witty critique on society, the world and politicians. Needless to say I love satire and cartoons. Cartoons in general, yes, but also cartoons that show the world, or parts of it, a mirror that is frightening, terrifying, yet hilarious. I'm all for freedom of speech, freedom of expressing oneself. I'm not for merely insulting people, though.
Well, enough of that. It'll soon become a blog of its own - but not right now. Soon. For now I'm introducing myself to the audience. To my readers.
I like reading, and I like writing. I'd like to write the way the books I've read are written. That means I could start writing some fan fiction, though not of Robin Hobb's world. She has made it really clear on her website she does not want any fan fiction of her stories, characters or world, so I will not. She is one of my favourite writers, also including Terry Pratchett, Holly Lisle and Anne Rice. I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy, both in writing and on screen. I'm dreaming of writing my own book, which I occasionally sit down and work on. I'm also thinking about doing a book with a close friend of mine. Both projects have barely even started, so I might keep you updated on that here. I'm also a fan of Star Wars, but not one of those nerdy geeks that the cliche tells you they are. I do have a social life. Really. I "know" some people at the blogs who seem to be quite normal, non-geeky people, too. Of course I could be mistaken. I might blog about Star Wars, or even write fan fiction about it. Or about celebrities. I have this short spoof about some celebrity girl I will post here soon, when I've checked if it isn't in conflict with the site rules.
I love movies. I love going out, even if I don't do that very often anymore because I'm financially challenged these days - donations are always welcome. I love discussions, as long as they're civilized. I love video games. I love psychology and I love giving people electrical stimuli in the name of science - that's the research I'm doing right now. Call me sadistic, but I'm really not. You'll see. Or not.
I love dreaming about what a wonderful blog this is going to be, and how it will improve my writing skills. Maybe I'll get tired of it in a week, maybe it turns out to be my redemption. I don't know. Let's just see where it will take me.
Writing a blog like this requires attention, which I have aplenty at times, and very little at other times. That means my entries will most probably be infrequent. Please try to bear in mind that I do have a life outside of this online blog.
Thanks for reading and hopefully you'll read more!