It’s Friday, Let’s Freewrite

The clock in the bottom right corner of my screen just changed from 12:43 AM to 12:44 AM, the result of a few lines of code marking arbitrary time. As I sit here wondering why I am still awake and why I haven’t attempted to shut down my computer, I look around at the random paraphernalia of my life: books, shelves, plants, clothes, guitar, cords, bags, clock… There’s that time again, except that clock is set four minutes faster than my watch (which actually reads the same time as the clock in he bottom right corner of my screen – down to the second).

The little autosave message at the bottom right corner of  my textbox informs me that a draft of this post was saved at 12:48:20 am. And it just saved again at 12:49:20 am. What does it mean.

If I sit quietly enough, I can hear the faint ticking of my watch. I sometimes hear it at night when I rest my hand under my head to sleep. It’s either soothing or disturbing or it’s not even there, depending on the day, depending on how tired I am. Recently, the insomnia’s been at it again, poking and prodding and nudging, too tired to go to sleep, too conscious to stay awake. What am I writing.

This is stupid. Time… Time for sleep.

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Talking About Taxes is Fun

April 15th was the deadline to file your taxes. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo.

And April 20th is the extension you get when your taxes are rejected.

Alas, my taxes had been rejected. Something to do with me neglecting to list myself as a dependent for my parents. Fun stuff. However, I don’t really feel like talking about taxes. It’s boring. Unless you’re a lifeless accountant or hyper-enthusiastic IRS agent, you probably don’t want to read a whole lot more about taxes either. So let’s pretend taxes are like Fight Club – albeit a drier, Brad Pit-less, but equally blood-curdling Fight Club. First and second rules: don’t talk about taxes.

And we’re done talking about it!

Instead, let me update you on what’s been happening with my jolly exciting life. (Huzzah for mundanity).

As you may or may not have noticed, depending on your level of patience with my manicness on this blog, I haven’t posted in almost two weeks. Why? Well, I wish I could tell you that I have been off on adventures of Indiana Jonesian proportions, but then I feel the tip of my nose would probably zoom into my computer screen and end up through yours. I ain’t a real boy, Ms Blue Fairy.

No, what I’ve actually been doing are school-related excitements (read: not-so-exciting-drivel) wrapped in trying to maintain a healthier social circle. You see, a college student has the options of good grades, a social life, and sleep – but we can only pick two of the three. Since I’m already prone to bouts of insomnia, I figure I’ll try out the combo of balancing academics and socialization. All work and no play makes the student an axe-wielding maniac dependent on alcohol to get her through the day. (Not that I have any experience in such things, axe-wielding, drinking, or otherwise).

In addition, I have been working with a friend on a new blog, which I will share with y’all as soon as it’s as presentable as a bowl of chili in a chili-tasting contest (what the hell kind of simile was that, goddammit, I’m rusty). It’ll be a forum for exchanging knowledge and talking about society, evolutionary patterns, and observations of life in general – with a bit of humor here and there, as always.

This is a piece of crap update, but it’s an update nonetheless. Better than a jab with a pointy stick. Or perhaps only just as good as a wink to a blind bat…*

Now we return to your scheduled programming.

*Mega Points to the first one to name the reference

Feels like we haven’t had a heart-to-heart in a while. Care to update me on what’s been going on with you? Spill them beans!

In Which the Student Commits Somnicide

Writing a eulogy can be fun. Especially when no one actually died. In honor of dead week, here is a eulogy/goodbye letter to our oft sacrificed friend Sleep.

My Sleep

(b. 1990’s; d. Whenever I started doing all-nighters)

“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” – Oscar Wilde

Here we are, my friend, my love, my bedtop companion. Here we are. Who could have known it would end like this for you, my dear friend? I certainly hadn’t expected it. And I’m sure you hadn’t seen it coming either. I mean, who dies by ballpoint pen? I don’t remember what I was doing with that pen in my hand – Physics? Macbeth essay? Who frickin’ cares what it was. The important point was that the pen was in my hand and I had no idea what I was doing. I’m sure you would remember if you were here right now. You always had such an amazing memory, albeit a very strange and imaginative way of relaying it. I remember one time being deep in you and having you show me some really crazy sh*t. But you always knew what I liked. (Mmm, Hugh Laurie).

Sleep, you’ve been with me my whole life and I’ve felt privileged to have been a part of yours. I’m sorry for murdering you, buddy. No hard feelings, right? Well, of course no hard feelings because you’re dead. But I know you wouldn’t take it badly if you were still here with us. Academics and having a life needed to come first and you weren’t willing to off yourself. Always such a sensitive and tender one you were. You never wanted me to get out of bed with you. You were always there for me during all those boring lectures. You held me tightly under the covers during the weekends – ever the persuasive sweet talker.

But you know, you were kind of an ass, too. Yeah, this is supposed to be a sweet parting letter with lovey dovey sentiments and all, but you’re dead now, so what are you going to do about it? Nothing? That’s what I thought. What the hell was up with the coyness and screwing with me? You often toyed with me, slipping me in and out, and then holding me at arm’s length so that when I needed you most all you did was smile at me and never let me fall into you. You know I needed you that night before that calculus exam. As well as that night before that twilight flight. And the night before my first day of college! You knew how important all those were to me and then like some jealous mofo you abandoned me for God only knows where. So you see that beautiful quote by the ever-luscious Oscar Wilde? Well, that ain’t what’s waiting for you. I hope you spend the rest of your non-existence in a series of appearing-in-public-naked nightmares, you sadistic, soporific bastard. Dead week and finals are going to be a helluva blast without you. Good riddance, ’cause I’m not gonna’ need you for Spring Break either. Suck it.

To all those about to take exams at the expense of their sleep, I bid you a tearful good luck!

Fill Thy Vat of Knowledge!

What do you do when it’s 11 PM on a Thursday evening, you don’t have class tomorrow, and you currently can’t sleep? Why, take to the interwebs, of course! And by the interwebs, I specifically mean the lovely HowStuffWorks.com. There is always time for learning! Knowledge never sleeps! Quench your thirst of information that was not previously known to you! This introductory paragraph has too many exclamation marks, so I sound like a spaz!

Anywho – obnoxious punctuation aside – I love HowStuffWorks. Whenever I feel that my “Useless Trivia” data stores are running low, I know I can just click on the HowStuffWorks icon in my favorites bar and bask in the knowledge feast laid out before me. I won’t emerge from this gluttonous trance until I’ve gone through the main page and ripped through a dozen articles using the Random Post button. “Learn how Everything Works!” is their site tagline. And indeed, they attempt to show you how everything works from describing how to break into a house, to explaining how dying of embarrassment is worse than freezing to death, to enlightening you on what in the world the appendix is for (kind of).

I Heart Guts Appendix. So cute.

Seriously, I’m just here to screw with you.

I first discovered the site when I was in 8th grade whilst looking for science articles for science class (reduntantly redundant) because most of the links the teacher provided pretty much sucked (meaning it was hard to find articles that fit the criteria for the assignments – not dissing the integrity of the scientific reporting, so lay off). It was love at first click, but as with all deep and irrational loves, it came at the price of my self-respect. Soon I was obsessed with the site, coming back to her – I’m just going to pretend the site is female, just because – everyday. She seduced me with her full, shapely articles. My hunger for her knowledge had me coming back again and again until my brain ached and eyes fatigued. The noetic siren had dragged with me into the depths of her surveys, and quizzes, and pages of sweet, sweet information.

Well, that was unnecessarily melodramatic.

But I’m over all that now. The relationship between me and her is totally under control and I am in no danger of succumbing to her know-it-all wiles again. Basically this is a love post – borderline lust post – to HowStuffWorks.com. She fills that emptiness within and is there whenever I need her (and have access to WiFi).

No, not really. This all really was unnecessarily melodramatic. But thanks, HowStuffWorks, for helping me be semi-funny and teaching me how sarcasm works. (Gee thanks)*.

Read these interesting articles from that vixen of a site:

*Sorry, that joke was too easy.

What sites do you like to waste time be productive on? Have a favorite HowStuffWorks article? Share it!

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.