The sound of a heart breaking free…or collapsing in on its own delusions

Yeah, I know, it was on So You Think You Can Dance. That’s where I found out about it. I personally don’t see the point in pretending to be more awesome, hip, all-knowing, etc. than I actually am, because people always see through that anyway. The point is, it’s a great song. I love echoey guitar rock (e.g. Explosions in the Sky, My Bloody Valentine, etc.) and this is a fine example. Synthesizers aren’t entirely unwelcome around me, either. (I try to keep a broad mind…go organic, rootsy, or acoustic at some times, others shiny, sleek, processed, or digital. Either can be fine. Some, like White Pony, meld both.)

Part of the reason I put this up is I’ve been thinking lately about my best friend A_______ from high school. She’s one of the three or five most brilliant people I’ve ever met (that includes all college & grad school professors), and now she’s on her fourth marriage (yes, you read that right *sigh*), and is an atheist vegan to boot. The vegan part I can let go by the board, but the atheist part is really painful to think about. She’s always had my prayers and always will, but she doesn’t seem to want them, or even the God that they go to. It’s hard to think about. This song is in honor of her. The lyrics hit at her main weakness, which is the enthronement of the mind and reason over everything else. (No doubt she’d be full of disdain that I have chosen such a bourgeouise, mass-market, ennervated, soulless thing as a song that had been played on SYTYCD…but that’s part of why it fits, don’t you see.) God rest ye, A__________ … you keep fighting in your way, and I’ll keep fighting in mine.

I’m the king of my own land.
Facing tempests of dust, I’ll fight until the end.

Creatures of my dreams raise up and dance with me!
Now and forever, I’m your king!


I could have told you that.

In today’s excerpt – the effects of sleep deprivation:

“In the 1980s, researchers at the University of Chicago decided to find out what happens when an animal is deprived of sleep for a long period of time. In but one of the many odd tests you will find in the history of sleep research, these scientists forced rats to stay awake by placing them on a tiny platform suspended over cold water. The plat­form was balanced so that it would remain level only if a rat kept moving. If a rat fell asleep, it would tumble into the water and be forced to swim back to safety (or drown, an option that the researchers seemed strangely blase about).

“Fast-forward to two weeks later. All of the rats were dead. This confused the researchers, though they had a few hints that something bad was going to happen. As the rats went longer and longer without sleep, their bodies began to self-destruct. They developed strange spots and festering sores that didn’t heal, their fur started to fall out in large clumps, and they lost weight no matter how much food they ate. So the researchers decided to perform autopsies, and lo and behold they found nothing wrong with the animals’ organs that would lead them to fail­ing so suddenly. This mystery gnawed at scientists so much that twenty years later, another team decided to do the exact same experiment, but with better instruments. This time, they thought, they will find out what happens inside of a rat’s body during sleep deprivation that ultimately leads to its death. Again the rats stayed awake for more than two weeks, and again they died after developing gnarly sores. But just like their peers in Chicago years earlier, the research team could find no clear reason why the rats were keeling over. The lack of sleep itself looked to be the killer. The best guess was that staying awake for so long drained the animal’s system and made it lose the ability to regulate its body temperature.

“Humans who are kept awake for too long start to show some of the same signs as those hapless rats. … Within the first twenty-four hours of sleep deprivation, the blood pressure starts to increase. Not long afterward, the metabolism levels go haywire, giving a person an uncontrollable craving for carbo­hydrates. The body temperature drops and the immune system gets weaker. If this goes on for too long, there is a good chance that the mind will turn against itself, making a person experi­ence visions and hear phantom sounds akin to a bad acid trip. At the same time, the ability to make simple decisions or recall obvious facts drops off severely. It is a bizarre downward spi­ral that is all the more peculiar because it can be stopped com­pletely, and all of its effects will vanish, simply by sleeping for a couple of hours.”


Author: David K. Randall Title: Dreamland Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company Date: Copyright 2012 by David K. Randall Pages: 20-22


Headline: Drinking Coffee Good for You

Anybody who knows me knows I’m a java fiend. It lubricates my mental machinery and brings me much-sought-after clarity of thought. All the same, it’s nice when there’s some research to back it up. (ht: chugging mccoffee)

Need a Handful of Reasons to Drink Coffee?

January 27, 2011 · 0 comments

in Coffee News,Drinking Coffee

In a recent study that was published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers explored the benefits of caffeine and found that it could possibly protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Within the study, experts researched how caffeine affected the brain, leaving us with a few good reasons to enjoy your daily cup of Joe…

  1. Caffeinated coffee positively affects memory and the ability to undertake complicated tasks.
  2. There was an inverse relationship found between Parkinson’s disease and drinking coffee regularly, meaning that caffeinated coffee could protect against this disease.
  3. Caffeine reduces abnormal brain functions, brain degeneration, and motor deficits.
  4. Drinking caffeine moderately reduces cognitive decline caused by age, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, other research has confirmed the fact that drinking coffee regularly can improve mood and increase happiness, energy, sociability, well-being, and overall alertness. Furthermore, drinking caffeine can enhance your stamina and aerobic endurance, and regular coffee consumption also has the benefit of reducing the risk of type II diabetes. Lastly, coffee is full of antioxidants, and Americans that regularly drink coffee receive 1299 mg of antioxidants simply by drinking 1.64 cups of coffee per day. In a very distant second is drinking tea, which provides only 294 mg of antioxidants.

The sound an empty gun makes in a dream when the trigger is pulled

I get up a couple of times during the night with our younger daughter, who’s seven months old. I don’t really mind it; mainlining coffee all day and the occasional ten-minute nap get me by. But sometimes it comes with wierd side effects.

Take today. I got up with her at 6am, then she went back to sleep at 6:30 am, so I laid down again because my sore body and groggy mind informed me that I wasn’t done sleeping yet (or I shouldn’t be.) I dropped off immediately, and the dream I had was short, vivid, and strange.

I dreamed I was wandering around through a huge, elaborate building, which had several areas — polished staterooms, dim sterile institutional hallways, stairways with flickering flourescent lights, etc. There were lots of other people around, and most of them were carrying guns. I had one too — a beaut: a scoped and accurized Colt .45. (A big, heavy automatic that makes a big hole with a big bullet, for those who are not gun aficianados.) I was wandering around, occasionally chatting with people I evidently knew, and every so often a wizened old man in pajamas would pop up in front of me and try and scare me by shouting “Boo!” in a reedy voice out of a toothless mouth. I’d flinch instinctively and jerk the trigger on the Colt — and clik. The firing pin would snap on an empty chamber. Nothing happened because the gun wasn’t loaded. This happened at least three or four times. Clik. Clik. Clik. What could this possibly mean?

The sound that gun made as I pulled the trigger echoed through my head a long time after I woke up (and it still is, right now.) Why is even such a little sound like that so memorable, if you hear it in the context of a dream?






Where does this stuff come from?



How to Beat Fatigue Long-Term

From “The First Parish: A Pastor’s Survival Manual,” by J. Keith Cook:

Time Waster No.8 — Fatigue. You get little done when your body and mind are dulled by fatigue and tension. These maladies stem from within the worker and not from without. Relax.

Four clues. Take your full vacation every year. You do no one a favor when you fail to take all your vacation. Get out of town, sit at home with your telephone off the hook — whatever.

Take a day off every week. Every week! Without fail. Any minister who is too busy to take a day off each week misunderstands his or her own importance. It is manageable. Choose a day. Fasten it down. Announce it. Ask the congregation to help you keep it. Then you keep it. Yield only to funerals. Don’t enter the office that day for any reason. God needed a day off. It is presumptious of us to think we can get by without it.

Take a vacation every day. A ten-minute nap on the office carpet. A midmorning coffee break with the coffee shop gang or the office staff. I find it relaxing as well as relationship-building to walk through rooms where circles and other groups are meeting to chat with persons present — during their own coffee breaks, of course. I try not to disrupt their study or business.

And finally, work no more than thirteen modules each week. I work all morning and all afternoon each Tuesday through Saturday. Ten modules. Two evenings. Twelve modules, now. Sunday morning. Thirteen modules. The rest is for my family and for me. I even arrange all wedding rehearsals to be at 5 pm so I can have the evening free.” (pp60-61)