Perfect Match: Finding the Right Car for your Lifestyle

2014 Lexus IS

It’s not always the best idea to be swayed by a particular make or model of vehicle just because you happen to like it. Most people buy vehicles on emotion – the color strikes an emotional chord, they get wrapped up in the engine specs, or they have an emotional attachment to the manufacturer.

But, most of the time, it works out better if you choose a vehicle that suits your lifestyle. Here’s how to get the right vehicle without paying a premium for non-essential emotional “features.”

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Five of the Best Bachelor Party Ideas


Historically, the typical bachelor party involved meeting up with friends and family on the eve of the wedding, drinking copious amounts of alcohol before being rather worse for wear the next day. Although some individuals still follow this tried and trusted trend, however, the majority of modern bachelors take advantage of the far wider range of options that now exist in the world.

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Weak at the Knees: The Chemistry of Love

couple kissing under blankets

Falling in love has been associated to many poetic notions, yet aside from the sonnets and song ballads, there is a bit of science involved in the felt emotions. For instance, you’ve heard about the feeling of going ‘weak in the knees,’ yet do our muscles actually go numb or experience an atrophy due to deep feelings? Below, discover scientific excuses for the way we believe we naturally feel.

Addicted to Love

Gambling is an addiction. Due to the brain’s release of dopamine, a ‘feel good’ chemical, gamblers get a rush whenever money is on the line and stakes are high. It’s the reason that, despite the odds being incredibly stacked against them, regular gamblers continue to invest in the enterprise. The forced release of dopamine is also responsible for a number of drug addictions; the ‘high’ is due to an surplus of dopamine in the system, so addicts constantly crave to return to that state of well being.

The release of dopamine can also be present in the early stages of courtship and throughout a long-term romance. The urge to return to the state of zen is a goal oriented behavior, and the reason some can liken the object of affection as an addiction.

The Cuddling Chemical

Have you chosen to stay at home with a movie and love mate instead of going out to a party or mainstream event? You’re not alone, and it may be due to chemicals rather than subjective decisions. Oxytocin promotes intimacy; as one professor explains, “It’s what hugging, kissing, and cuddling are made of.” Oxytocin levels rise during a mother’s milk production, necessary to nourish and bond with newborn babies.

If you feel like you can’t get enough of cuddling with your loved one, it’s likely that an influx of oxytocin is responsible.

Sex Hormone

Testosterone is commonly labeled a male hormone, yet it exists in both sexes and responsible for feeling ‘hot’ for another. Actually, men are known to have traces of testosterone in their saliva, and since lovers transfer saliva when kissing, it could be the reason kissing usually leads to more intimate behavior.

The exchange of testosterone can increase the sexual desire in the female partner too.

Stuttered Speech and Pitter Patter of Heart

Have you gotten nervous around a potential love interest? Do you feel like you’re ‘off your game,’ and a bit tongue tied? Norepineprine increases one’s heart rate and could be the reason people feel flustered around crushes. It’s also responsible for the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and a loss for words.

If your love makes your heart go pitter patter, norepineprine is preying on your nervous system.

Opposites Attract

A set of genes, MHC, control cell-surface molecules, released through sweat, saliva, and odor. Those in close relation have similar MHC structures, and we can ‘pick up’ on MHC levels in other people. It’s believed the more you differ in MHC, the stronger a sexual attraction can become.

It’s believed that opposites attract; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet feature young lovers from separate families and Billy Joel’s song, Uptown Girl, is about a love interest from a different social stratum. Perhaps there’s more to attraction aside from crossed stars and geographic distance.

Smells Like Love

It’s likely you’ve heard of love at first sight but the sense of smell is also involved. Insects use smell for a number of behaviors, and it’s theorized that humans do the same. Girlfriends often maintain a bottle of their boyfriend’s cologne and men have been known to well remember the scent worn by their lovers. So, though you’ve only been on one date via Meet Bae, the smell of your date can linger in your memory for a long time.

Animalistic Tendencies

The notion of ‘animal attraction’ connotes a primal urge of lust between two people. However, such lustful sentiments are shared by animals. The prairie vole, a small, furry animal, engages in a lot more sex than needed for reproduction, which is also necessary for long-term bonding. Doctors believe oxytocin, discussed above, is responsible as well as another chemical, vasopressin.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

As discussed, a love interest can affect a nervous system, making one stutter and causing sweaty palms, yet pheromones are also found in sweat, and may be responsible for specific attractions. For example, rats detect pheromones via the urine of potential mates, and researchers found that humans also respond to pheromones. Rats avoid partners with similar immune systems, so offspring has a better chance of survival.

So, if you have an unexplained attraction to another, it may be pheromones helping you select a well suited partner for eventual mating.


Blu Tuesday: Hackers and Walt Disney Shorts

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.


WHAT: After being arrested for crashing over 1,500 computer systems in a single day, 11-year-old tech prodigy Dade Murphy is banned from using computers until his 18th birthday. Seven years later and now a senior in high school, Dade (Jonny Lee Miller) is forced to move to New York City with his mother, and before long, he’s back to his old ways. But when Dade and his new friends uncover a plot to frame a fellow hacker for installing a dangerous computer virus, they must prove his innocence while being pursued by the U.S. Secret Service.

WHY: Everyone has at least a few guilty pleasures in their movie collection, and one of my all-time favorites is Iain Softley’s “Hackers.” The film may have been ahead of its time in its portrayal of hackers as the next generation of activists (though it’s done in the most accidental, roundabout way that it barely counts), but the cyberpunk thriller feels incredibly dated and even cheesier than it was back in 1995. After all, this is a movie where Fisher Stevens’ villainous computer geek rides around on a skateboard and demands to be referred to by his handle, The Plague, with a straight face. But while “Hackers” is so stupid at times that it’s amazing anyone could take it seriously, the film is still entertaining in a fun B-movie sort of way. It certainly helps that the cast has such great chemistry – particularly stars Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie, who have since gone on to bigger and better things – because it makes all the absurd costumes and dialogue a lot easier to swallow. Kudos to the gang at Shout! Factory for recognizing the movie’s cult fanbase and releasing it on Blu-ray to celebrate its 20th anniversary, because while “Hackers” is admittedly very silly, that’s part of its charm.

EXTRAS: There’s an hour-long retrospective featuring new interviews with director Iain Softley, actors Matthew Lillard, Fisher Stevens and Penn Jillette, and various crew.


“Walt Disney Animation Short Films Collection”

WHAT: A collection of short films produced by Walt Disney Animation between 2000 and 2015, including “Lorenzo,” “The Little Matchgirl,” “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater,” “Tick Tock Tale,” “The Ballad of Nessie” and “Get a Horse!”

WHY: Why: Having already released two volumes of Pixar shorts (with another likely on the way), it was only a matter of time before Walt Disney put out a collection of its own short films. Unfortunately, it becomes abundantly clear while watching the 12 shorts included on this set that they’re just not as good as the ones made by Disney’s sister company. There are a few standouts – like 2000’s “John Henry,” a traditional hand-drawn short featuring some great music; the charming 2012 Oscar winner “Paperman,” about a meet-cute involving paper airplanes; and the incredibly sweet and funny “Feast,” which was attached to last year’s “Big Hero 6” – but there are more misses than hits. 2015’s “Frozen Fever,” a shallow cash-in that should have never made it past the conception stage, is so awful that I couldn’t bring myself to watch it again, while the other two tie-ins, “Prep & Landing – Operation: Secret Santa” and “Tangled Ever After,” are cute but forgettable. Many of the other shorts (listed above) fall into a similar category or worse, which makes the collection hard to recommend to anyone other than the most diehard Disney fans, especially when there’s so little value on the Blu-ray beyond the films themselves.

EXTRAS: There’s a behind-the-scenes look at the process of developing and producing a short film, but that’s the extent of the bonus material.



Junkyards 101


If you have DIY tendencies, you undoubtedly know that buying used car parts can save you a lot of money. The problem is where to get them. There are basically two ways: the easiest is to simply go to the internet and find someone selling the part. Type in model/make of the car and description of the part with the word “used” and you will likely find the part quickly. Chances are good it’s from an ebay seller as there are quite a few that make a living selling used parts on ebay. The other alternative is to go to your local junkyard and get it yourself.

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