Going to the Movies Solo (No, I’m Not a Loner)

Going to the movies is a social activity – at least, that’s what I’ve always thought and practiced. Whenever I see a movie, I always have at least one other human being with me, be it mother, father, sister, friend, friend of a friend, or friend of a friend of a brother of a friend. That’s what has felt natural, enjoying a silver screen experience with someone else. The more the merrier.

But not today.

Today, I broke my solo-moviegoer virginity and saw Django Unchained. By myself.

Now, before you roll your eyes, purse your lips, and exit this perceived inanity, humor me. It does sound kind of stupid because plenty of people go to see movies by themselves. It’s a normal activity. (That sentence reminded me of Paranormal Activity and its sequels upon sequels. They create a vacuum, but I digress). However, part of me has always been afraid of it – afraid of being alone. “Autophobic” as the intellectual hoity-toitees call it. It’s like that sinking feeling of sitting alone at the lunch table in high school. You can feel the judgment and ridicule from your ever so popular peers boring holes into your already colander-like self-esteem. It’s funny, though, because I know I have a double standard about this. When I see people by themselves in a theater, I don’t find myself pitying them by any means. Why should I? If it looks like a loner, sits like a loner, chews popcorn like a loner…

Samuel Jackson as Stephen in the movie Django Unchained

The look of judgment. And badassery.

Maybe they aren’t loners.

I’m not a particularly extroverted, outgoing kind of gal, but I’m no humanity-hating hermit either. I enjoy spending time with friends, but sometimes, I haz need for “me time.” I’m not the only person on the planet with this kind of temperament. So it is a normal activity – it is self-gratifying. Even though a movie theater is a public venue, you don’t have to impress anyone. The room is dark and everyone is focused on the big screen (or they’re canoodling with their partner). No one is paying attention to you. There’s no need to worry about whether or not the person/people you’re going with are enjoying the movie. You can just enjoy the movie.

So today I learned that moviegoing can definitely be a solo sport – not just for loners and members of Homo Awkwardiensis, but also for well-adjusted individuals who need some time for themselves once in a while.

And plus, no one wanted to see it with me.

But I’m not a loner. I swear.

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Insomnia Files: Snooze Button Dreams

I know I only just recently wrote about dreams, but that post was pretty unfocused and rather onanistic. (Damn you, Hugh Laurie). Now, we’re going to get a tad more scientific with what I call “Snooze Button Dreams.” (Oh, all right, Hugh, you can stay).

Hugh Laurie Dream

Sexy lips shall be sealed, Zzz…

From time to time,  I suffer from  insomnia. I have gone through evenings in bed, tossing, turning, searching desperately for that perfect position – then failing and ending up not getting a wink of sleep, wishing for more hours of darkness, dreading the buzz of the alarm clock. I’ve found that this is usually during emotional and stressful periods, where I am unable to settle my mind when my head hits the pillow. These are common causes of insomnia, in addition to consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, as well as eating too much before going to bed, according to Mayo Clinic. Eating a lot right before bed gets your guts a-workin’ to digest that food, which can keep you up. Also, staying up late watching a full season of Parks and Recreation on Netflix isn’t too helpful, either.  Oh, the habits you accrue in high school – that just get worse in college.

Sleep is good! That’s a no-brainer. It’s been often touted that sleep deprivation results in fatigue, inability to focus, being prone to making more mistakes, and turning into Godzilla.

It's Godzilla!

What you look like without enough sleep

Another thing you miss out on when you don’t sleep is dreaming. That’s pretty obvious since you need to be asleep to dream. Although if you go long enough without sleep, your body goes “All right, enough of this crap” and shuts down, slipping you into a microsleep. It’s like a court-ordered nap by your over tired body. So while a crispy, pedophilic demon with claws and a fedora isn’t very plausible, the microsleep phenomenon is.

In the beginning, I mentioned Snooze Button Dreams. We’ve all experienced these, especially those at war with the snooze button on your alarm. This type of dream occurs during a short sleeping period, like the period between hitting the snooze button for the fourth and fifth time. These dreams are amazing because you will likely be able to remember them with vivid, outrageous detail.

Why?

Elton John is in your dream

He’s definitely the hotter of the two.

How could you have fought off dragons in Middle Earth, won an Olympic medal in video gaming, and had a three-way with Mila Kunis and Elton John in the span of 10 minutes?  Two words: R.E.M. sleep. (Okay, technically four words: Rapid Eye Movement sleep). During this period, your eyes, as the name implies, shift around rapidly. The rest of your body becomes more or less paralyzed to prevent you from sleepwalking onto your neighbor’s lawn and the centers of your brain responsible for learning are stimulated. Your brain becomes blasted with neural activity and one theory posits that dreaming is your brain’s mechanism of trying to make sense of all that information coming in.

In the link above, the article mentions how your brain incorporates your environment, primarily sounds, into your dream as well as recent experiences. This morning, for example, I woke up to my alarm’s radio. I reset the alarm for a half an hour so that I wouldn’t have to press “SNOOZE” four more times. When I fell back to sleep, I began to dream that I was waking up and getting things done around the house. The visuals, the sounds, the layouts were all identical to my house. It was as if I had already gotten out of bed and was in real, conscious life. (I understand Inception now. If I had spun my top, it never would have fallen then). I remember hearing the voices of the other people in my house. I brushed my teeth, got dressed for the day, had a pleasant conversation over breakfast. And then I woke up and realized I actually had to get my butt out of bed (again).

Dreams are fantastic. They’re so amazing and we’ve yet to definitively know about them.

To read more about dreams and sleep, read these articles:

How Dreams Work

How Sleep Works

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

Insomnia

Thoughts? Dreams? Share them in the comments below.

Not-So New Year’s Resolutions (Actually More Like Suggestions)

New Year’s resolutions are destined to never be accomplished. It’s the contrived nature of the whole thing. “Let us begin doing the things we failed to do last year starting on this arbitrary day invented by our civilization. Yippee-ki-yay, mofos. We can do it!”

Happy Belated New Years

Yes, the idea of getting things done, trying new things, becoming a new you – they’re all made with good intentions (unless you’re a mentally unbalanced individual with plans to beat your own serial murder spree record). Yeah, we want to lose weight, go somewhere exotic, quit smoking, and change the world, etc., etc. But do we really want to? No, I mean do we really, really want to? Let’s be serious. You have a few extra pounds, but you love food (I know I do). You’re sick of your daily routine, but watching reruns of Friends on your comfy couch with a cup of earl grey is damn cozy. You want to quit smoking, but you’ve been doing it for 20 years already – why stop now? And you want to change the world, but the world is a damn large place. 

There are always excuses, which is why I was never keen on making new year’s resolutions for myself. I knew they would fail. I knew this because I didn’t really have my heart set on any of them. Plus, New Year’s is a terrible time to be thinking about what you want to do. Just live. Just be. Live and be in the present during New Year’s celebrations. Drink and love and screw around. If you are going to celebrate this arbitrary day, actually celebrate it! There is no difference between January 1st and any other day on our calendars. It’s just 2013. (Suck it, Mayan apocalypse freaks). We are time-obsessed. Yes, it’s good to think about changing. The next step is wanting to change. And then there is actually making the change. So don’t worry; be happy.

I’ve made a lazy list of things that I’ll (maybe) get around to this year (or next year). Who cares if I actually get them done? I don’t. We should never have to do anything we don’t want to do. So here are some things I might want to do before I kick the bucket (or not):

  • Actually get around to reading the books I buy. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture by Marvin Harris, and The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth are stacked on my desk. And those were just the books that were delivered last week. I need an intervention. Or I just need to read them. If only there were more hours in the day. (Hey, that reminds me of a new Mitch Albom book I saw at the bookstore the other day. Maybe I’ll get it. Maybe.)
  • Create a new word – not just open my mouth and spew out some vowels, consonants, and throw in a diphthong for the hell of it. Anyone remember that young adult book Frindle by Andrew Clements? It’s basically about a kid who makes up a new word for a pen: frindle. He sticks it to the man (or the woman – I think it was his cantankerous female teacher) by using the word in assignments. At the end, his teacher has come to respect the kid and sends him a dictionary with the newly added “frindle” in it. Yeah, kinda’ cheesy, but neologism sounds fun! So I want to establish a new word – and I’d like anyone reading to help. I’ll be posting about this new word soon and I’d love for it to gain some legitimacy… But that’s for another post. Moving on-
  • Play a song other than “Hey There, Delilah” on guitar. I started playing guitar, say, about 3 or 4 years ago. My practicing started out strong and then I plateaued, which I know is natural, but I also found it discouraging. So the only song I can play on that thing with anything approaching good skill is that Plain White T’s song from the radio a few years ago.
  • Figure out what the heck I want to do with my life. Just kidding. Screw it.

There you have it, a not-so New Year’s resolution suggestion list. Well, I feel accomplished today. Now to go back to watching Grumpy Cat videos.

What are your opinions on New Year’s Resolutions? Got any good ones? Bad ones?

A Cigar’s Just a Cigar

Last night, I had a really weird, but interesting dream. However, about five minutes after waking up, I had already forgotten 96.8% of it. What I did remember is as follows:

I was Hugh Laurie making out with an attractive woman on a sofa. 

And that is the extent of my memory. So, anyone care to take a crack at that? What do dreams really mean, for God’s sake? Is it like obscure, arrogant literature – it’s all symbolism; everything stands for something; you falling into a gaping hole in the ground is obviously indicative of the social strife that you perceive in this empty society around you?

But what if it just means you’re afraid of heights (and getting sucked into the earth)? I think dreams do have meaning, but you can’t analyze it like you do a novel in your junior English class. I wish I could find the source, but I remember reading a theory that something that happens in a dream could be completely unrelated to what it really “means” in the “real world.” Maybe you falling into a gaping whole means you’ve been craving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – just the way momma made them. How are we ever to know?

Does dreaming that I’m the ever luscious Hugh Laurie mean that I wish I were him? Plausible. His life doesn’t look too bad – not that I would really know what his life is really like. If I were him, I’d be able to switch between gruff and sexy American accent to kind, intelligent English accent in a snap. I’d have a wide following of adoring, rabid fangirls…

Hugh Laurie posing sexy on a bear rug

“Do I distract you?”

But I digress.

Perhaps it has something to do with my inner masculine. Biologically, I am female. I identify as female, but there is no denying some masculine aspects to my personality. Everyone has their own mixture of feminine-masculine traits. Some can be seen more clearly than others, but then there is always a gray area. And it is unfortunate how stigmatized it is at times. In general, it is definitely more acceptable for a woman to act “manly” than it is for a man to act “girly.” So get off your high mares, feminazis; guys don’t always have it better.

Anyway, to get back to talking about dream interpretations (much more important than discussing actual social issues, obviously, obviously) – what does it all mean? And does it even really matter? Unless you’re having legitimate premonitions about the fate of a bus of school children careening off a cliff or about lottery numbers, I say don’t stress about it. Maybe a dream is nothing more than just some chemicals sloshing around in your head as your brain cleans up the day’s mess and prepares for a new day ahead. Maybe we should just enjoy being able to survive a fall into a gaping hole in the ground or, better yet, getting attention from the ladies while in the form of Hugh Laurie.

Yeah, let’s just enjoy it. Maybe Hugh is just Hugh. Yep, enjoying it.

-SOS

Had any crazy dreams lately? What do you think about dream interpretation?