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unrequired reading

I’ve been thinking lately of putting up links to the websites that I frequent, but I haven’t taken the time to do so. But I just ran across this beauty of a video, (I really enjoy the movement of the satellite dishes), on one of my favorites, io9. They mostly write about sci-fi and fantasy entertainment, but they also put in a lot of other interesting stuff like that time lapse video of stars, and this article on why people confess to crimes they didn’t commit.

*EDIT: I just realized that this is my 111th post. I should celebrate somehow. Suggestions?


Cafe Dú Brazil

Pen and paper become addictive, kids. Limit your use, or you’ll end up writing on anything that comes to hand. Just be careful, that’s all I’m saying.

Hey look! New tea wrappers! Yeah, sorry. I couldn’t think of a good way to introduce that. This is going to get repetitive.

Mind Games #10

What is better hand/home-made, and what’s better left to manufacturers?

Or, what’s the most unlikely hand-made item you own?



I put up two new tea wrappers. They are two parts of the same story, or two pages, or whatever. There should be a steady flow of these for awhile. I got a box of tea with wrappers for my birthday. And that’s all I have to say today.


The Long Hours

I cried at the end of an action movie this morning. It was 6:00 AM. To my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve teared up over a movie. What can I say? Insomnia makes me do stupid things.

I experience insomnia in a few different ways. The most common for me is waking up in the very early hours of the morning, 2:00… 3:00… 12:30. I understand that this is a less common form of insomnia for most people. Sometimes I go back to sleep after an hour or so. Occasionally I don’t go back to sleep at all. Most times, I roll over and sleep and wake and sleep and wake for the rest of the night, counting the hours until I switch off my alarm before it can sound. That’s almost a nightly occurrence, and I function on my version of normal with such a night’s sleep. On the days that I rise at 2:00 or 3:00 without going back to bed, I usually contrive to be late for work. It seems reasonable to me.

Other times, much less frequently for me, I’ll go to bed and drift. I rush right up to the point of falling asleep and just hang there. A sudden noise will jolt me fully awake, just as if I was sleeping. But I was not asleep. I was adrift. Small problems become great affairs. Great affairs become ridiculous farces of importance. Life or death? Laughable! Money? Of no consequence whatsoever! An embarrassing slip of the tongue? Ruinous! The angry stranger behind the wheel of another car? Mortifying!

Sometimes I get out of bed. Popular advice for insomniacs these days is to never lie awake in bed for longer than a half-hour. It can give you a negative association with the bed so that when you see, “bed,” you don’t think, “sleep,” you think, “lying awake miserably.” You aren’t supposed to read in bed either, or bring work to bed, or watch TV, (who would do such a thing?). All of these things cause you to associate the bed with restlessness instead of sleep. So, if you can’t sleep after half an hour, get up and do something. Then try to sleep again in another half-hour.

I don’t know if that’s true. I naturally distrust anything that comes from the mouths of “experts.” Experts are 100% as capable of making things up as I am. They disguise their guesses behind the phrase, “studies show.” And then they all mimic each other until the voice becomes a chorus and suddenly, “experts agree.” I’m much more likely to buy one of these theories if somebody says, “Hey, I’ve got an idea! Try this…”

But I digress. And I must admit, sometimes I go to bed nervous that I won’t fall asleep because I’ve had trouble before. Those nights, it’s almost a sure bet that there will be a light burning at my house. So, sometimes I take the experts’ advice and get up. I never lie back down in less than an hour. It usually helps if I eat. I almost inevitably end up on the internet. You’d think that I’d use the time wisely. I could be doing the laundry, or taking out the trash, or any number of the list of chores that I don’t have time for. I could catch up on reading maybe? Go outside and look at the stars? Sure. I do things like that sometimes. But that’s an exception rather than a rule.

Time spent awake at night is negative time. Insomnia is a taker, not a giver.

And then, I go back to bed and try again. If the cat doesn’t start whining, and the kids don’t have nightmares, and my bladder doesn’t suddenly feel just the tiniest bit full, I usually fall asleep. But there are nights, all-caps NIGHTS , where everything goes wrong in a perfectly arranged sequence.

There comes a point on NIGHTS like that when you just give up. Sleep ain’t coming. Nyx reigns tonight, and even mighty Zeus couldn’t challenge her. The hours grow long. Time runs in all directions. Forwards. Backwards. Side to side. Existential terrors loom massive in my mind. What have I accomplished with my life? Have I made the world a better place? Am I doing what God wants me to do? Was I right when I believed I was doing His will in the past?

I read webcomics. I check facebook over and over. But nobody else posts at 3:00 AM, and people worry about me when I post late at night. I don’t like to make people worry, it makes me self-conscious. Sometimes I’ll pick up a book. Rarely, like this morning, I’ll watch a movie. Eventually, I make coffee. The sun starts to rise. I wait for my kids, (a couple of early risers), to trot out of their room. The day begins, and I pretend that everything is fine.

However, I’m sure that the signs are clear that everything is not fine. I slur my words. My eyes get red and water. The first letters of my words transpose. I’m even meaner than normal. I make idiotic decisions. Even so, such things aren’t too far off from typical for me. I function pretty good after one sleepless night, usually with plenty of energy. But I approach my bed with apprehension the next night. What if I don’t sleep again?

If I don’t sleep again, then I spend another lifetime under Nyx’s harsh rule. The next day, the fatigue really hits me. My head and hands hang down, my feet shuffle. My speech gets quiet to the point of being incomprehensible. I start to panic when it’s time for bed. I’ll start early, like around 8:00. It’s rare for me to pass another sleepless NIGHT after that.

But when I do, I face the next day with a grim sort of determination. I don’t need sleep after that. Sleep is for wimps. It feels like I could continue on in that state indefinitely. But I guzzle coffee without pausing to enjoy it, and I’ll fall into an open-eyed unconsciousness that has nothing at all to do with sleep without notice. I can pass out like that in the middle of almost anything.

Any more days and NIGHTS after that are wildcards. Times and days run together into meaningless slush. I see and hear things that aren’t there. How I’ll act or feel are anyone’s guess. I could be grouchy, or frivolous, or even brilliant for brief spurts. Only a few things are certain. I’ll be hungry. I’ll make extremely poor decisions. And I’ll be emotionally and mentally unstable.

Which brings us back to me blubbering on the couch after watching a movie that predominately featured the protagonist breaking arms and bashing heads against unyielding objects. A real tearjerker. Guess what else I did… Go on… Guess.

I ate a mountain of oatmeal. And I drew on my son’s face with washable markers. He looked like a luchador. I thought it was cool, but apparently it was a little over the top. He asked me to wash it off as soon as he saw himself in the mirror. And I was lucid long enough to write all this. I’ll leave judgments as to idiocy and brilliance up to you.

I can’t remember how many nights I’ve gone without sleep now. The two nights previous to last night I took Advil PM. They produced in me a restless drowsiness. I can’t count those nights as sleep or not sleep. I spent long portions of both mornings watching the numbers on the clock counting up. I’m pretty sure that a night or two before that was sleepless. Maybe not. The days have bled together.

What to do now? I think I’ll type this up and post it on the internet. That seems reasonable.


The Nine People Who Live In India

I tend to categorize people in my mind. I don’t do it purposefully. But it’s like there’s an abstract filing system in my head. When somebody looks or acts like someone else I already know, I subconsciously drop their files into the same folder. As I child, I used to wonder if God used a finite number of basic molds or punches that he made us all from. He made me from the short and scrawny mold, and then added a little variety with curly hair and an overactive imagination. I feel that it’s rare to meet someone who is truly unique, somebody for whom I have to start a brand new folder. I don’t make new folders very often, and they hardly ever last long with just one file. I just expect people who have the same facial structure or body type to think or react in the same way. I understand that it is a narrow way of looking at things, (is that what security types call profiling?), but everyone sees the world through his own filter. Continue reading