My Nightmares

Nightmares, we all have them. Dreams that make us shoot out of bed, wanting nothing more that to crawl into our parent’s bed- until we remember that we are adults now, and no longer even live with our parents. For some people, these dreams take the form of monsters, demons, or surprise math tests that they forgot to study for (even though they haven’t taken an Algebra class in several years).

For me, nightmares are a bit different.

Let me start off with a little background information…Since around the age of nine, I have been able to recall my dreams at least five times a week, and occasionally have lucid dreams. I do not know why, I just happen to. And, for the most part, I enjoy my “ability” to remember my dreams, but with every fun and exciting dream, there are the ones that fill me with absolute dread.

Because I remember so many of my dreams, I have had numerous dreams of being chased by various types of movie and mind-made monsters. As a kid, they did frighten me, but that didn’t last very long. Zombie apocalypse dreams have become more of an awesome action-adventure experience. That giant hairy monster that chased me repetitively for a year finally caught me, only to give me a spine-crushing hug. I spent numerous dreams hiding from Freddie Kruger, (because we all know what he does) the day that he finally saw me, he waved and walked away, completely uninterested in harming me. I sat and had tea with the girl from the ring, went shopping with the demons, and took the monster under my bed to the nearby bar. Because, why the hell not?

Like I said, those kind of things don’t bother me.

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NOPE.

My nightmares focus around nature, and its most extreme forms. For the past four years, I have had dreams of gigantic tidal waves that consume entire cities, continents, even the entire world. A massive wall of water shadowing me just before it falls. Sometimes I escape and survive a wave, only to watch in horror as a second, larger wave hones in on everyone. These dreams haunt me the most, as they never seem to end.

Other times, I dream that our galaxy/ universe is ending. The sun turns red, and suddenly the planets are so close that they could crash into the Earth any second. Everything is reduced to a horrific, yet stunning display of chaos. Sometimes I am more awe-stricken than scared.

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DOUBLE NOPE.

Last night, I had a dream that my family and I were driving in a city. I suddenly saw, and pointed to a small water spout/ water tornado, in the very large river that ran though the city. My dad, however, pointed out something much more urgent. Nearby, there was a huge tornado that was about to touch the ground. We turned to flee, only to have the tornado chase after us. I destroyed everything around us, and somehow became a fire tornado.

I know it sounds completely ridiculous now that I write it down, but visually, it had felt realistic. It’s terrifying to be chased by something so massive. It’s impossible pinpoint exactly why monsters do not scare me while gigantic waves and tornadoes do. Every time I have them, I just want to nope  the hell out of there.

Nopenope
It could be because I subconsciously know that monsters are not real, while natural disasters are very, very real (no matter how unrealistically my mind portrays them). It could also be the fact that the monsters in my dream are conscious beings, I can communicate with them, negotiate and talk things out with them. I can’t talk to the tidal wave, the tornadoes or the falling sky. They are massive, unconscious forces. Whatever it is, its certainly food for thought.

What nightmares frighten you most?

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Feeling the Burn…Sunburn

On Sunday I went tubing, and like the idiot I am, I put a significant lack of sunscreen on my body. The result of a two-hour river floating party resulted in the mother of all sunburns. From wrists to shoulders and from ankles to high thighs, I imitated the appearance of a fresh-boiled lobster. Even today I look like the victim of some serious rug burn. Not to mention that it hurts. A lot.

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Burns so good…

I have no aloe lotion or anything, nor have I had the time in the past three days to go out and buy some. I have been working all day, class in the evening , and then all the stores within walking distance of me close early, because of its small town status. To ease my pain, I starting using home remedies at night to make falling asleep actually possible.

The first night was probably my most idiotic attempt on alleviating my pain. I researched some home remedies online, and found that both apple cider vinegar and baking soda can be used on sunburns, and I possess both at my house. So, because I am a scientist, I tried to make a concoction that I could use to ease my pain. But, because I can be the biggest fucking idiot when I want to be, I thought mixing the two together would be a good idea. Any first grader with a volcano science project can tell you what happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda. (Did I mention that I lack common sense?) Well, you can just imagine how the first round of that went…the second go was more successful, since I was able to make a better ratio that created a paste-like substance to rub on my skin. And it felt great; very soothing for a  such a wicked skin aliment. Unfortunately, it also became very flaky as my skin absorbed the moisture from it, which then fell all over my floor. My bedroom carpet looked like an after party and Lindsey Lohans’ place. Christmas in June. Not only that, but I smelled really funky afterwards.

The second night, I decided to take a different approach–this time using honey.Yes, sticky delicious honey. If poured on on a damp cloth and applied as a bandage for a period of time, it greatly reduces the stinging pain of sunburns. It was very soothing and smelled a ton better than apple cider vinegar.  However, I either did not leave the bandage on long enough or used too damp of a cloth, because the honey became tacky on my skin. Not a regular type of sticky as honey usually is, but a gross “shopping cart handle” type of sticky. I quickly jumped in the shower after that, erasing all progress that I had made on my skin.

Last night, I chose to error on the side of caution.  I took a sponge bath using some of my dandruff shampoo that contained aloe. It was by far the easiest and cleanest method I had used. This also mocks my lack of common sense, considering I had been resorting to food products the first two days, when I had been washing my hair with the word “aloe” printed all over the bottle.

My Automotive Adventure

The other week, my car Bonnie began displaying its “service engine soon” as well as randomly cutting out while on the road. I wasn’t too worried and figured that it was something simple that could be fixed with a little TLC. I looked for several typical issues with my car, but could find none. None of the other monitors were showing any signs of of difficulties. Being automotivly illiterate, I was at a loss.

This past weekend, my mother came up to college town to volunteer for a dental convention. As part of her weekend visit, she assisted me in the attempt to find out what was wrong with my car, and figure out if we could fix it. Little did I know that we would be on one crazy adventure.

First, we went to Autozone to see if it was a battery problem, even though the system monitoring the battery recorded that it was in working condition, but because we had a battery problem two years earlier, we figured it was worth checking out. One of the employees tested it three times, each read showed signs of a dead battery. It took him several minutes outside in the hot sun in order to help us. The guys at the store were really helpful and even exchanged the battery for us (since the old one was still under warranty). We were able to get a brand new battery for free.  This, however, was not the end of our problem. Just as we got out to leave the parking lot, my Bonneville cut out on us again and the “service engine soon” light returned, mocking us with its orangeish-yellow light.

Back into the store my mother went, this time to ask where the best mechanic was located. They directed us to a small mechanical shop just south of town. The ride was like playing the automobile version of Russian roulette; every turn, yield and hill provided another risk to have Bonnie cut out on us again. We made it to the small shop, only to discover that they had no room for us today, as they were already running behind on the projects they already had.

Tired and fearful that Bonnie wouldn’t be able to take us down the road much further, we headed over the the GM dealership to see if they could help us. By this time, it was 4:15 on a Friday afternoon and we were in a panic. We had to get the car fixed by the weekend before my mother left, or I would be stuck three hours away from my hometown without a car. They were also very busy; one of the workers said they couldn’t even assist us until Wednesday. My mom had to push them into at least giving her a code reading on the car, so we could at least know what was wrong. The young worker tried for several minutes to get a reading with his cheap scanner, only to receive no response from the car. Curious, they called back an older gentlemen named Harold to take a more in-depth look at my car. Even though he was very busy, he was kind and listened to what we were experiencing. He then took her out to the back to get a reading from a better machine.

It wasn’t long before he came back with a diagnosis. Harold explained that Bonnie has a bad Throttle Position Sensor. He explained how the part usually worked compared to how mine was (not) working, in terms that I could understand. He also said he could fix it by Saturday morning, and we would be able to pick it up before they closed at noon. We were so grateful for their help despite all the other projects they had. They even shuttled us back to my house, where my mother had parked her car earlier that day.

The next day, my mother and I bought  the employees of Autozone and the GM dealership doughnuts as a thank- you gift. We picked up my car, which was now “running like a champ”. The ride home was the smoothest and quietest that Bonnie has ever given me. Our bad car trouble had lead to an experience of great customer service and a good ending.

 

My Top 10 (Animated) Disney Movies

I love animated movies. I love lists. I may even go as far as saying that I love Disney, but I have enough other issues with that company that I will just stick with “admiring” them. However, like most children growing up in the 90’s, pretty much all of the animated movies I watched were a product of the Giant Corporate Mouse, so my list would have been 95% Disney based anyways. I also have chosen not to include Disney/Pixar movies, otherwise this list will turn into a memento of how much better Pixar is than Disney. (Which, now that I think about it, may become a topic for another day.)

So without further ado, I shall present my top ten favorite Disney animated movies.

10) Frozen (2013)

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Make it stop! Make it stop! ..Can’t handle this any more!

I know this movie has produced a lot of hype (both before and after its release.) I saw it in theaters shortly after it came out, and I liked it. I was pleasantly surprised on the quality and effort that was put into both the story and the musical score. I was expecting another Disney princess film that taught the same lesson that every other Disney princess film did, and I was wrong. The fact that the movie centered around both female empowerment (i.e. neither of them up ended up married in the end), and directly addressed the absurdity of marrying someone you just met. I even was prepared to hate the snowman Olaf from watching the promotional commercials, and he surprised me by being only mildly annoying, and even a bit humorous. That being said, I put this low on my list, because while it was great, it wasn’t great. Some people refer to it as “the next Lion King”. While it is the best movie Disney has produced (by itself) in years, I do not believe it holds up to the standards of the hand-drawn animation of the previous decades. (Example: what was the point of those mossy trolls? I felt both their presence and their singing was obnoxious as hell.) Also, if I hear “Let it Go” one more time, I may rip my own ears off.  But, if you somehow have managed to avoid seeing it, I
recommend reconsidering.

9) Mulan (1998)

I have never met a person that disliked this movie, there only seem to be various degrees of likes. First of all, Mulan is not a princess (yey!) , and second, she has a fucking dragon as a friend. This setup is only slightly marred by the fact that Mushu is voiced mulanby Eddie Murphy, which is just a little odd, in my opinion. Instead of being a damsel in distress, she saves all of China from an entire army jaundice-ridden Huns, how cool is that.)
Also,the song “Be a Man” has to be the most catchiest Disney song ever, it seems to be so contagious that people will join in upon hearing it. Oh, and George Takei voices the head of Mulan’s ancestors. Hell. Yes. I honestly could watch this movie a hundred times and never get bored of it.

 

8)The Sword and the Stone (1963)

This movie is on this list mainly for the sake of nostalgia. My grandmother had a VHS copy of it at her house, and I watched more times than I can count. I actually had not seen it for several years until I watched it again last week. As an adswordult, I see the reasons why I loved it so much as a child. First of all, I love the older Disney animation, it has a beautiful, irreplaceable quality to it.      The story line is cute, and plays into the desires of a child: meeting a wizard, turning into different animals, watching a magic duel, and become a heir to an entire country. If you have not seen this movie, it is well worth your time (especially if you have children.)

 

 

 

 

7) Atlantis: the Lost Empire (2001)

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No more Chinese laundry.

I remember seeing this movie a few years after it came out at my friend’s house. I loves the artwork, I loves the premise, I love the characters, and I love the adventure. At the time, it was revolutionary: this movie had made greater use of (CGI) than any of Disney’s previous animated features; and it remains one of the few to have been shot in anamorphic format. Atlantis also lacked songs, which is a usual, Disney trademark, and I believe that is what I liked most about it. It is much more ‘serious’ than other Disney movies and is one of a few of their movies to actually show blood. I admire what it able to accomplish: a unique animated adventure that tried to stay away from the original, Disney formula. Unfortunately, it not do as well in the box office as Disney had hoped, and was casually swept under the rug, never to be mentioned again. This movie deserves recognition, and to be introduced to the younger generations of children. 

 

6) Fantasia (1940)

Oddly enough, I hated sitting through this movie as a kid until I re-watched it again at fifteen. I honestly think one has to be a certain age to appreciate both the music and visual representations that this movie provides. Both mediums match up perfectly, providing a beautiful representation of stories created through music. fantasiaBy far, my favorite had to be “Night on Bald Mountain”. The sequel, (if you can call it that) Fantasia 2000. Attempts to achieve the same quality as the first one and it fell flat several times; it does not add up to the same amount of powerful emotion as the Fantasia does. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but it is great for classical music lovers.

5) Tarzan (1999)

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And with that, a new generation of foot fetishes was born.

What an awesome representation of Tarzan, the ape man. After watching this movie, I remember remember becoming fascinated with both gorillas and the concept of climbing trees, and spend the next several summers swinging off of tree branches. I am really glad that Disney focused its time with this movie to develop the relationship between Tarzan and Jane (over a period of what I assume is several weeks).
His struggle between being a man and and ape is emotionally strong as he learns of language, science and a world beyond the jungle. Full of personal issues and plenty of death, I always get teary-eyed when I watch this movie.

4) Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

As an adult, it gets harder for Disney to make much of an impression on me with it’s new material, that is not the case with this movie. I absolutely love the concept Wreck-It Ralph. The idea of an entire world that exists between the games of an arcade is very creative. The best part is that they know and understand that they are video game characters. The fact that the wreck itstory is told from the point of a ‘villain’, is also an approach that Disney has not done before. Ralph hates always being the loser in his game and questions his existence of being a bad guy, which pushes him to become a hero and earn a medal. His growth as a character as well as his interactions with Vanellope make it a great balance between humor and emotion. This movie also has a habit of making me cry.

 

3) The Lion King (1994)

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Simba. Everything the light touches…belongs to the Disney Company.

Where do I begin with this one? The music is incredible, the characters all have distinct personalities (even if most of them are one dimensional or stagnate characters) and the story line is the animal version of Hamlet. The casting of James Earl Jones as Mufasa and Jeremy Irons as Scar made this movie epic. The contrast between their voices add to the differences between the characters. The “Circle of Life” and “Be Prepared” will always be two of my favorite Disney songs. There is not much else to say about it that most everyone doesn’t already know.

 

 

2)The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

The musical score alone in this movie captures my attention, I get chills every time I hear “The Bells of Notre Dame”, “God Help the Outcasts,” and “Hellfire.” Every. Single. Time. This movie is not only unique in its placement (i.e. inside of a church), or in some of its content (lustful intentions), but it is also unique in its ending: the guy does not get the girl. This is both sad and refreshing. You want to see Quasimodo achieve the love he desires, but life isn’t always that way and it pulls away from the “traditional” outcome. He does however, get a happy ending, and is accepted into society. (Which I know is completely different than the original story, but what else do you expect from a kids movie?)

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This song gives me the shivers.

 

1) Beauty and the Beast

This is the only movie that I like that follows the traditional “Disney princess” model, as well as the only Disney movie in which I enjoy every single song. Unlike other “Disney princess” movies, this one actually shows an extension of time for a romance to develop. Belle also happens to be my favorite animated character, unlike most other animated girls- she actually reads, and I can relate to that. The fact that the Beast caters to her hobby by giving her an entire ginormous library is fucking awesome. I personally would have married the Beast then and there if he had given me a library. Plus, living beautyin an enchanted castle would be awesome! My only problem with it is the very end, I felt that the fact that Beast changed back into a human kind of defeated the purpose of the theme: loving a person for who they are, rather than what they look like, but I’m just nitpicking.

When Love Isn’t Worth It

What would you do for love? How far would you go to have a relationship with a certain person, and how much are you willing to change yourself in order to be with them? Personally, my answer is: not a whole hell of a lot. I cannot see myself loving another person if they do not love me for who I am. Obviously, this is not everyone’s approach. Some people go through extreme changes just to meet the expectations of their partner and their family. I actually know such a person.

This girl I know is dating someone from a strict religious background, and has completely changed the way she lives her life in order to be accepted by her boyfriend’s family. From my understanding, this family is strictly Baptist. They believe that women should not wear pants, and that drinking, dancing and listening to music is sinful, but by far the most ridiculous thing is that she has changed her life to accommodate them. She does not wear pants in front of his family, no longer goes out dancing, and attends the local Baptist church at least twice a week. All of this is quite the change for her life before meeting this guy.

Apparently, her boyfriend is much more accepting than his family of her lifestyle, but she still has to keep up appearances in order to appease his family, otherwise they will never be able to get married.  I recently asked her if she liked her new Baptist life, she only responded with “I like my boyfriend.”

I don’t care how much you love someone, if they or their family are forcing you to adjust to their way of life and you have no real desire to do so (other than the desire for that one person), you should run away now. No person on this earth is worth changing your life for if it doesn’t make you happy. You will have to spend the rest of your life putting on an act in order to maintain face, and that does not sound like a life worth living to me.

My House is Haunted

So, a little over a week ago I moved into my first home. Well, it was once part of an entire house that was then sectioned off into a duplex. My home is mostly upstairs, there is a little washroom on the first floor when you walk in and a set of stairs leading up to the rest of the house- containing a living room, a ridiculously small kitchen, a bathroom and four bedrooms. However, there are only two of us of the four that were stupid enough to stay in a middle-of-nowhere college town that is deserted in the summer months. Even then, my roommate is almost never around and is either working or hanging out with friends, so I essentially live alone.

For the record, I do believe that there are things in this world that we may never understand. As a person who mostly relies on logic, I do not immediately jump to “paranormal” or “spiritual” conclusions right away, but I am not closed off to the idea that “ghosts” and “spirits” exist. It’s just as impossible to prove they don’t exist as it is to prove that they do.

With that being said, in the week or so that I have lived here, I have noticed some oddities that are hard to ignore. Mainly it has just been the obnoxious sensation of being watched, even though there is no one in the house with me. It’s a lot stronger in my bedroom than in the living room. I have also been having a lot of senseless nightmares, ones that are a hodgepodge of events that cause me to wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and scared. This is strange for me because I almost never have nightmares and I usually remember my dreams with intense accuracy.  These, however, I can easily excuse as just anxiety over moving into a new place and living completely independent for the first time.

The other things, not so much.

The first time the words “haunted” passed through my mind was last Sunday, when my roommate moved in. She and her friend were unpacking her things on the other side of the house, I could hear them talking as they unpacked. As I went to walk into my bedroom at the other side of the house, I heard an indistinguishable whisper right behind my head. I turn to see an empty staircase behind me (my bedroom door is directly across from the stairs). My roommate and her friend were still talking, the whisper had happened when they were speaking, so I knew it couldn’t have been them. It couldn’t have been my downstairs neighbors either, as I know what they sound like. I often hear their muffled voices and laughter beneath my feet, this whisper was at ear level and directly behind me. I was a little weirded out, but I casually ignored it, because I didn’t want to scare off my new roommate (or give her cause to believe that I was crazier than I already am).

The most recent oddity happened last night.  I walked into my room after twelve hours of work and school, only to find that the mirror next to my closet had fallen. Granted, it was supported by one of those handy hooks (our landlady won’t allow us to put holes in the walls) and even that “heavy duty” Velcro and adhesive hook was bound to give out at some point—it was the way that I found it that was strange. First off, my mirror was miraculously undamaged despite it’s near six foot drop. Second, it completely missed the small, makeshift table that was underneath it, nothing on my table was disturbed. The mirror had fallen off to the right, closer to the entrance of my closet, rather than where it had been hanging. Third, the stupid wall cling was a good three feet away from the wall, further off to the right and further away from the wall than my mirror. I’m no master in physics, but if the mirror had fallen straight down, it either would have fallen on the table or just behind it (there is just a big enough gap between the table and the wall that it could have), not off to the right and away from the wall. Very, very odd.

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Whatever it is, it can’t be worse than the the movie Casper…

So whether I have been subjected to easily explainable events or have my own Casper living in the house with me, I’ll stay objectively observant and wait to see if any other oddities occur.

Beating the Vegan Agenda

This is my own response to all the vegans that have decided to flood their food-related ideals all over the internet, including my Facebook feed. I am exceedingly getting closer to deleting you from my list of friends.(Which is a shame, because they are, otherwise, nice people.)

I would like to first start this post with a comment to all vegans:

Congratulations.

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I’m pretty sure we all know this person.

It isn’t sarcasm either. You have found a diet that works for you- it is ethical eating alternative. Good for you.

But for the love of all that is good in the world, stop trying to guilt trip the rest of society with your way of life. As I said before, I’m glad you are happy with your eating arrangements. I myself have an adjusted diet I like to refer to as “pseudo-vegetarian”, I avoid eating mass-production meat, between the horrid treatment of the animals and the frightening allowances of FDA, I have no desire to consume that. With that being said, I love meat…give me some steak, courtesy of the neighbor’s farm, and I am all over it. And yes, I am aware that my Uncle Jim shot Bambi’s mother, but boy does she make the best jerky. I just prefer to know that my food has lead a happier life than those stuck in cages all of their lives. However, I don’t berate those who do buy their meat from the supermarket; they have just as much freedom to consume whatever they want as I do. I also try not to make my eating preferences a point in conversation unless someone actually asks, or if it is relevant to the conversation.

So, being told that I am a horrible person for eating meat kind rubs me the wrong way. Many vegans have this self-righteous attitude, and scoff at those who choose to eat animal products (we have all met this person). I have three key reasons why vegans should get off their high horse and leave us meat eaters to make our own choices.

1. We are biologically built that way.

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A lovely chart, courtesy of Google Images.

Our teeth say it all; we are omnivores. Humans are meant to eat both plants and other animals. We posses small (but sharp) canines for tearing meat and sharper molars designed to mash food rather than grind it like herbivores. Just because you step
ped away from your original, biological purposes, does not mean the rest of our species has to.

2. Where would be today?

If our ancestors had chosen a vegan lifestyle, we would not be where we are today. The most significant and vital part of civilization was the usage of domesticated animals. Without cattle we would have never been able to plant larger crops to maintain a single space to live in, otherwise we would have continued to live our nomadic lives. Animals also produced the resources we needed to survive: milk, eggs and meat to eat, skins to keep warm, and bones to use as tools. The life you are living is the product of meat-eaters that have survived for nearly 200,000 years.

3. Being vegan is a privilege.

You are a vegan because you have the means to be one. You (and I) were born with the privilege to choose not to consume animal products, we are allowed to choose more ethical means of living.  If you were born in a third world country, do you really believe you would turn down some milk and eggs just because you think it is wrong to take things from animals? I highly doubt it. Do you see a family in Africa as monstrous because they had to kill a chicken in order to actually be able to eat? Even in this country, living vegan isn’t always the most inexpensive way of life, not everyone can afford to to buy food that is completely free of animal products. Some people don’t have the choices that you do, so lay off.

4. Bonus (because this is my own personal issue)

Propagating your way of  life as though it is the best and most righteous option doesn’t make you out to be some sort saint or higher being. Instead, you come off as a pompous asshole. You are not providing incentive for me to switch to a vegan diet, however, you are providing an incentive for me to punch you in the face.

Hmm, it felt nice to get that rant off my chest.