Brain Bad! Sleep Good?

Unlike many people I know I have no issues at all falling asleep at night.

While common sense would dictate this is due to mostly biological reasons I found myself pondering tonight the neurological reasons behind this. More specifically my perspective on the neurological reasons based on my own understandings of the science and my own understanding of myself. (In better words, read this at your own risk, I am an expert in neither neurological science nor myself.)

First off, I may not have a very typical brain. Which is, probably, fairly typical for most people to believe. That being said, I do think there is something.. off.. about how my brain works compared to what I have been conditioned to know as “typical”.

My entire life I have experienced “shocks”. I do not know how else to describe this feeling. It simply feels like every electrical switch in my body is being triggered all at once. The feeling starts inside my brain and blinds my senses from within before washing over my entire body with electrical stimulus. It does not hurt, nor does it ever last any longer than it would take for an electron to signal a nervous response across your body. (Basically no time at all.) Overall the entire thing feels most closely like a wave of static electricity that bursts from within my head and spreads throughout every nerve in my body, never jarring enough to entice an outward physical response but at the same time being completely overwhelming for me internally.

 

It is a feeling I have never been able to contain, nor control. Yet at the same time it has never been something that has given me any cause for serious alarm as the symptoms are almost pleasurable, if but for that precise moment.

 

It is a whole body catharsis that happens in an instant and is gone before you have any trouble with it at all.

 

So.. that is a lot of preface… I guess I meandered there for a bit but I thought having a longer explanation of that in writing may have been good for me. In any case I do not seem to be the only person I know who has experienced this as both my mother and brother have reported similar experiences in the past. Most likely this is some sort of genetic neurological disorder that I am neither qualified nor able to diagnosis. Either way, it is a part of who I am.

But how does this relate to sleep?

Damn… sometimes I start typing but have no idea where I may end up.

I guess my initial point was going to be something along the lines of…

My brain seems to be extra active almost all of the time. Whether this is holding multiple conversations with multiple facets of my own personality with myself in my head at all times, or it be just rambling into incoherent spaces of non-linear thinking, or just imagining worlds and storylines that only I will ever see or know… there is always an unbelievable amount of non-sense going in in my head at any given moment. I really cannot ever honestly keep up with myself sometimes. I am not trying to say that having an active mind is necessarily a good thing, I am actually starting to wonder if it is the sign of pending mental anguish. (mental health does seem to go pretty quick in my family, and I think I read somewhere once that people with active minds tend to go all dementia/Alzheimer’s quicker than most, which is fitting with family history..)

Actually, once again I am not sure I know my point with this whole thing. Right, back to basics.

Strange neurological symptoms may help explain constantly active mind which may then in turn explain sleep.

There I was… sleep. I keep losing track of what I was thinking of. Actually I never quite lost track of it, it was just fading into the background noise of the countless other threads of mental processing happening in my chaos pool I call home (my brain.)

The moral of this story is this.

I exert myself physically much less than almost any other person I know. Yet, I fall asleep much easier than almost any other person I know. Even if these people exert themselves physically to the point of utter exhaustion I can always fall asleep easier and more quickly than most.

I don’t think that my ability to fall asleep has any relation whatsoever to how tired I am. I am starting to think that my philosophy on sleep may just be different.

Over my life I have heard many people tell me how they long to sleep easy at night and stay asleep for an entire night.

I long for the opposite. I long for enough time awake to finish all the things I am thinking about. Only the things I am thinking about (much like this story) never seem to end. Instead I spend all of my time fighting to cling to consciousness. My mind only ever succumbing to sleep after it is battered down, defenseless, and ready to submit to it.

Which, with a mind like mind, is almost always.

So from this weary traveler to you dear reader, thanks for sticking around. 🙂

Fairwell MS Paint!

This morning I read some tragic news. MS Paint is dying.

One of my earliest memories of using the Windows operating system was as a child at school. In the computer lab in my elementary school we had some Windows 3.1.1 networked PCs. They were likely IBM clones, as most PCs were back then, and used 5.25 inch floppy disks which were endlessly amusing to flop around when you are young.

The first thing I did on that computer was launch MS Paint and scribble out a crude work of art. Knowing myself it was likely of a penis with some balls (I have never had a very mature sense of humor, after all.)

I fell in love with computers as a child and my life has been guided by that love ever since. I would not have ended up working in IT or having my current life at all if not for my early love of computers. I can’t help but think a lot of the charm that I fell in love with came from creativity apps like MS Paint which were built into the system on every single PC. So when I found out today they are getting rid of this classic windows feature that I love it saddened me.

Of course MS Paint has had another large impact on my life by way of Paint Comic. The whole idea of that comic originally was to help me get out of a creative slump. I am an endless perfectionist when it comes to creativity which has resulted in me starting hundreds of projects that I have never even come close to finishing as I can never get it “just right.” Paint Comic was my answer to try to end that cycle of bad behavior. I set out to create something I could do on a daily basis that would not take me more than 15-30 minutes to create from start to finish. I think the first comic I did took me around 5 minutes to complete (and it shows.)

The original

The comic was created in MS Paint so I went with the lazy title of “Paint Comic” surprisingly some Google searching at the time indicated that nobody else was using that name so it became mine.

While I never ended up doing the comic daily (other than maybe for the first few days) I did keep coming back to it over time as it was nice to be able to make something and have no obligation to myself to make it be good. Over time I did fall back into the trap of trying to make it actually have quality and not surprisingly that is around the time I stopped making it altogether.

While I would like to say that I continued to use MS Paint to create the comic I actually had moved on to a different application called Paint.net after a while which is about as close to MS Paint as you can get with support for layers. In the days of MS Paint being removed from Windows I would suggest anyone with a longing nostalgia give Paint.net a try, you will find it refreshingly similar (only with some added features that make it more usable.)

With all of that being said, farewell MS Paint. You helped me find my lifelong love for computers and you will be remembered by at least this one nostalgic geek.

Cash Me Outside

Did you ever see that movie, Gladiator, and think “man, how could a society gather in a crowd to watch the weakest among them be torn to pieces for their entertainment?”

I saw that movie too, but I was never as surprised by the shocking nature of the content displayed. Unfortunately Gladiator is as much a critique on our own society as it is on the ancient Roman society that is depicted in the movie. For proof of this we need to only look at the latest viral meme to spread through our collective sub conscious.

Last year an emotionally unstable 13 year old girl was in need of help. Instead of helping her, however, she was instead brought out into the public arena, and torn to pieces. For the most part everyone laughed at her misfortune as a corporation profited from the destruction of her life. She was in need of therapy after some tragic events in her life left her mentally ruined. Instead of therapy she was put into a room full of strangers who were there to judge her every action. She was then forced to perform for this crowd, being backed into a corner until her defensive nature kicked in and an extreme emotional response was pried from her young mind. The crowd booed at her for her inability to handle the situation. Her mother sat nearby and wept as her daughter was humiliated live in public. Meanwhile television cameras recorded the event to broadcast it nationwide, and eventually would take that footage and share it online for the world to see.

The world loved it, the footage spread like wildfire. People could not get enough of a young girl being exploited publicly. The sickness of humanity reared its ugly head and did everything it could to prove we have no sympathy as a whole. The story was shared and mocked endlessly on social media. The troubled childs inability to communicate effectively was used as proof that she was below us and thus deserving of any kind of torture we may inflict upon her. Nobody stopped to think about what this girl may actually need or what may have caused her to act this way.

A child needed help from a mental health professional and instead was mocked publicly by someone pretending to want to help her. I am not sure the details of why she needed her therapy to be on TV. If her mother was simply too poor to hire an actually therapist then Dr. Phil exploited both the mother and the child for profit. Perhaps the mother just wanted the attention as well, however, in which case this girl is being actively whored out by both her mother, and a corporation eager for profit. Does that make us better than her? Are we justified in our contempt for a girl who has no say in how she was raised?

The whole situation sickens me and the fact that nobody seems to give a shit about a child who is being exploited publicly makes me lose faith in humanity more than most things that have happened in the past year. Howbow dah?

17 Years…

17 Years.

It was 17 years ago that I started Green Glasses Productions. I know because I picked the year 2000 for the sole purpose of having a really easy year to remember as the founding of the company. The goal at the time was simple, find a name that I could use to release creative works online, something that I would own and control. Up until that point every project I worked on was a collaboration between me and other friends. The most infamous at that point was “Immortalis Tyranus” which, to be honest, may have been the most successful website I have ever worked on.

The name originated from a photo I took during a sophomore year science class in High School of a pair of paper light diffusing glasses that we were using to demonstrate the different wavelengths of light. They were green, as you might expect, and the photo was taken on my first digital camera which had a whopping resolution of 1 whole mega-pixel (at the time this was pretty cool.) It seemed like a nice palatable name that would be easy to remember and would likely offend nobody. Plus, nobody was using it yet so that was a bonus too.

The original Green Glasses
Since then I have not done much with the name or the company. In fact I still have not even incorporated the company officially in any legal way yet. Sure there have been a few small videos that I have made that I attached the name too as well as a “weekly” podcast that got upwards of a few listeners. Nothing of note in the end though. I also have written similar posts to this one many times before.

So what is different now? Nothing really, other than it is once again a new year and I feel, once again that I should really start to work on this company. Seventeen years of stagnation is enough time to really think about my ideas and bottle up some good ones. What would it take, though, for me to consider the amount of effort I put into this company to be appropriate? Let me lay out the guidelines now for what I will need to do to be satisfied with this project over the next year.

1. Officially incorporate company

This is a big one as I have found that legally it is hard to take payments online without having an actual company to send those payments too. I cannot take donations on Youtube and I cannot cash out ad revenue for my site. (unless someone out there wants to point out something that I may be missing.) Plus this will give me a modicum of legal protection from other people who are using similar names for their company. Yes, I am fairly certain that if anyone ever took me to court I have sufficient records showing that I have been using “Green Glasses Productions” since the year 2000, however, getting that in a legal document will help.

2. Get Producing

An obvious one. You cannot have productions without actually producing something. For most of the time this company has been around I have mostly been quietly producing ideas in my head and not doing anything with them. Which I would say, does not really count at all.

With this bullet point I would like to get on a production schedule. My main issue with releasing things I work on is I am never happy with the quality of the content I produce. I have, in the past, dabbled in just releasing a mountain of garbage in order to get myself into just making a lot of content and I want to return to that. I already have a couple of “test” episodes of shows I was working on recorded and half edited. I never intended to release those as they were more or less designed to try to figure out my formatting but I think I will just throw them out to the wild soon and then follow up with more content as fast as I can. One piece of advice I seem to see given over and over again by successful creators is to just keep working and improving. If I am not actually releasing anything or working on new projects I will never improve. But if I shift to constantly working on things and releasing them I will surely become much more skilled soon.

3. Defy Evil

When Google founded it had a famous motto of “Don’t Be Evil”. A motto that is pretty funny considering the company Google has grown up to be but a noble motto for them to start with. I would like to take this a step further and I am happy to announce the new motto of Green Glasses Productions.

“Defy Evil and Have Fun”

It is a variation of the ubiquitous GLHF that is popular amongst anyone who participates in online gaming but with my own twist. Evil is subjective of course so I may have to give an official company definition of evil at some point for clarification but I think for now this should be fairly simple to understand.

There is an increasing amount of evil in the world and it has always been my goal to stop it wherever it festers.

4. ???

5. Profit

Someday I will figure out that 4th step and find a way to make money while doing what I love. Until that day comes I will have to be happy making money educating people about technology. Which is my day job and the most satisfying one of those I have ever had. Which I hope is actually a plus. Many times when I have started the process of buckling down on creativity I was doing it from a very dark place. I am now as far out of the darkness as I have likely ever been in my life. So I hope I can use the light and spread it through GGP. I will love it if anyone wants to join me on this quest but I don’t want to obligate anyone into doing so. I have no problem going this alone forever. If you like the work I do in the coming year and you want to be a warrior of light with me, then let me know. Otherwise I hope you all have a great 2017!

The Echo Chamber

Ian

For the past year I have been going through some stuff. After losing almost everything I had I buckled down in an attempt to regain some semblance of my former life. In the process I have found myself trapped inside the nightmare of my own mind.

It started as a self-defense mechanism. It is something I did a lot as a child to escape the horrors of my reality. These days my reality is not as horrible yet I still find myself running from the world. I am not sure if it is a cycle I will ever break out of, or if I even want to break free from it. It is the only coping mechanism I have ever seemed to develop.

While disassociating does help me cope it is far from a healthy thing to do. Knowing this has not been enough to prevent it from happening. Unfortunately, the consequences of spending so much time reflecting inward is the madness that it stirs up inside of me.

I don’t really talk to anyone anymore, all of my thoughts are dark and terrifying. I do my best to spare others the pain I inflict on myself. This means the only person I really ever talk to about my issues is myself. Over a year containing my thoughts to mostly inner dialogue I feel I may be losing sight of who I am.

Even typing this now I feel bad for burdening whomever may be reading this with my unfocused ramblings. I just had this intense desire to express myself even though I have no real clarity as to what it is I need to express.

 

I want to break out, but I don’t know how. I fear that if I don’t I will continue to lose everything that I love. I wish I knew how to proceed.

The 4th of July and You

Last night I was planning on releasing a video to YouTube talking about the 4th of July and our country’s addiction to nationalism. However after doing two takes of the video I soon realized that it was turning out to be rather hateful and kind of missing the point. While I normally do not mind being hateful and missing the point (especially on YouTube where this is truly what the audience craves) I just could not get into being that way once again. America, Fuck Yeah!

So instead I figure I will just throw some words in my blog to see how that makes me feel.

As we all go to celebrate the birth of our now fairly old nation please keep in mind some of the lessons we learned from history. Over the past year many people have been bringing up socialism due to Bernie Sanders and his campaign to be president of our country. Obviously much of the talk about socialism comes from the type of people who  have never read a book before but since they are a majority of our country it is still something that needs to be addressed (as opposed to my normal reaction to people who choose to be ignorant, which is to ignore them.)

The talk I am referring to was people expressing how Hitler was a socialist so therefore socialism must be evil. Clearly this is a bad argument to begin with but also very perplexing as we live in a socialist country ourselves.

Somehow a large group of people in our country have totally missed the lesson they were supposed to learn about World War II. Instead they have come to the conclusion that Hitler’s desire to build roads and provide welfare to his people (his CHOSEN people to be more specific) was somehow the thing that he did that was evil. The thing I took away from studying World War II was that committing genocide was the thing he did that was evil.

Do people think that Hitler’s desire for social programs was what fueled his genocidal fervor? Is it not much more likely it was the other thing he was known for, his nationalism?

Nationalism at its core is the idea that a group of people will band together to have pride in themselves, specifically a nation of people. Usually this results in that group of people also thinking they are better than those not included in that group. In Nazi Germany it was the German people feeling nationalist pride that led them to believe that the Jewish population was the enemy that had to be eliminated. Nationalism was the tool that Hitler used to convince an entire country to comply with his insane machinations.

So the thing I think we all should have taken away from that is that nationalism is something to be avoided in order to stop ourselves from falling into that pitfall again. As a country we have unfortunately fallen victim to our pride too many times. Whether it be burning witches, lynching people, rounding up a large ethnic group and putting them into concentration camps, eliminating an indigenous population or just jailing those with differing political beliefs we have a record of letting nationalism convince us to hurt those that live within our own country. That is not even mentioning how pride in america has convinced so many that killing children overseas is something we should definitely be doing.

When you are out today eating your hot dogs, drinking your beer and blowing shit up. Just try to remember the danger of inflating a nation’s ego.

Being Me…

Let me, for a moment, attempt to explain my life as of late.

Imagine you are walking down a path and you seem to have a good idea where you are going, you even have a nice pack of food and supplies to help you along the way. Now imagine that the path under you suddenly falls away and you find yourself falling endlessly down a hole with no clear way to stop yourself. There is no footing to find, everywhere you reach or attempt to step is just more dirt that crumbles away as soon as you find it.

You find yourself spinning out of control, losing everything you carried with you as you fall. Somewhere in this fall you begin to figure out how to stabalize yourself a bit. You are not spinning out of control now, but you are still falling and the ground below you still continues to crumble away. Everytime you get hope that you may have finally found stable ground, it just seems to slip away.

That is,  more or less, the position I have found myself in as of late. While I continue to do my best to remain optimistic I also have a hard time seeing a way out of this fall I find myself in. I may not be spinning completely out of control but I still have no stable ground to stand on.

I am not trying to be dramatic or get your sympathy. I just want people to understand where I am at. I am not a great person, I am hardly a good person and at times I don’t know if I can even call myself that. My greatest challenge of late is simply maintaining the shallow facade that maybe I can be stable again someday.

Or perhaps I am just overthinking everything, that would be par for the course in my life.

In any case, that is what was on my mind.

Melting Down

Dreams for me seem to always uncover the underlying issues that I try so hard to avoid in my day to day life. Last night was no different as I found myself in a complete mental breakdown in the middle of a dream.

It is no surprise to me that I would have a dream like this but it may mark the first time I can remember crying uncontrollably in a dream.

The best way I can classify my experience last night would be “anxiety nightmare”. I am always battling my own anxiety and for the most part I have it under control. The issue of course being that the more I try to control it the harder I melt down when I lose control. Usually people say it is best to attack the underlying issues of your anxiety instead of just pushing it down into your sub-conscious but unfortunately there is really not much I can do about my life situation as of late other than power through and hope that I can last until things start to improve.

In the dream I was moving from my current residence, something that will be happening in real life in about a week or two. While moving I came back to the apartment to find that I had somehow left one of the cats alone for two days without feeding her. She was sick and clearly not doing well. Being that my cats are the only creatures that I have any genuine feelings for this hit me pretty hard. As the cat food had already been moved and I do not own a vehicle my first instinct was to try to reach out to my friends Kim and Jon to help me get some cat food to her as quickly as possible. Unfortunately being a dream my phone was not quite working as expected. I was trying to open Facebook messenger as that is usually the quickest way to get a hold of people in my life but I could not get to the home screen on the phone to launch the app. Every time I hit the “home” button it just closed the app it was in only to bring me to some other random app that was open underneath it. I furiously tried just hitting it over and over again only for the home screen to never appear. This is when I snapped.

I simply broke down (in the dream) and started bawling. It was all the anxieties of my mind manifest and I could not take it. I cried for what seemed like hours in the dream before waking up to realize we had not moved yet. I could not get back to sleep as my mind could not stop thinking about what had happened. I have been feeling a need to let loose emotionally lately but have been unable to do so while awake. In a way this dream may have provided the release my mind so desperately craved. However at the same time it made me face some of the troubles that I have been trying so hard to bury within my mind.

Life is not exactly great at the moment, I will not lie and try to say that it is. I am alive and I do have food and shelter so it is not as bad as it could be. However with my third move in under 6 months coming up here soon it is clear I am starting to lose control over my anxiety a bit. While parts of me are excited about moving (having a bed to sleep on again will be really really nice) most of me is dreading it completely.

All I can do is keep hanging on. I may not be getting anything that I want out of life but that is just how things have to be right now. It may take me years to be back to a point where I feel comfortable again in my life but those are years I have to face. There is nobody I can blame for my situation but myself and as such I have to keep pushing forward. Someday I will have a place to live again where I feel like I am at home, it may take a lot of hard work to get back to that but it will be worth it in the end.

For now I just have to focus on getting through the day without really getting any sleep, wish me luck!

Motivation

For the past month I have had an issue with motivation. It is hard to say if it is due to depression from losing my job, the stress of having to move and suddenly being thrust back into a massive amount of debt, or simply due to my screwed up head which seems to have left me lacking in this area from a very young age.

At first I was allowing myself a bit of reprieve from lifes responsibilities. Abandoning my apartment really sucked and will continue to suck for a long time to come (I have already started getting the debt collection calls about that, what fun.) I suppose that since I was already ignoring such basic responsibilities such as paying bills (due to the fact that I literally had no money to pay them) that I thought that I could let other things slide as well such as personal hygiene or human interaction.
The Face of Depression
When I think about it both of those things certainly do sound like depression, though I never really feel sad when I think about it. I just do not feel like putting in any effort into life.

So this week has been my quest to re-find my motivation. Unemployment does run out and I need to find a way to become self sustaining before that date comes. I go back in forth in my mind from finding some shitty Mcjob or trying to go into business for myself. Office jobs are likely available for me considering the type of job experience I gathered at my most recent post however I really do not know if I want to do that type of work again. For whatever reason I have a hard time forcing myself to be “sane” enough to work among other people in a quiet professional environment. The service industry has always suited me even if the pay is generally shit.

The road ahead forks into many different paths, all of which are now open to me as I am free from any shackles that bind most people. I just need to summon the courage to walk any of those routes. Away I go.

Terminated

“We will no longer be requiring your services”

All Job Prospects Shall Be EliminatedAll Job Prospects Shall Be Eliminated

“Your job shall be terminated.. at my will”

That was how I found out I was losing my job. It was the end of my shift at the end of a fairly normal night for me at my most previous job. I did have some warning about this as I had been put on probation at said job two months prior but the news still hit me like a slap in the face. My first reaction was shock and later that day it turned to relief. After living for multiple months with uncertainty about my future at least now I finally knew my fate. During that time I was also dealing with some rough conditions brought on by previous bad life decisions which made the uncertainty about whether I would continue to have income even harder to endure. The stress was getting close to breaking me but I stuck with it the best I could and continued to try to improve at the job that I had grown to love. Unfortunately my best was simply not enough and the relief of knowing my fate was at best, bittersweet.

When I asked about why I was being terminated I got a generic “at will employment” response that offered me no solace. Without knowing exactly what I had done wrong it will be hard for me to improve in the future. I want to believe that I was simply not good at my job. I may have been delusional about my job performance for a while as I did feel I did good work and as far as I know I never had any complaints from fellow co-workers or clients about the work that I did. It was rare that I would get negative feedback about the work that I was doing and customer praise seemed to come in regularly. These factors may have contributed to me having an inflated sense of worth to the company I served. When I was put on probation however I was given a rude awakening. The reason for my probation was due to poor job performance. The circumstances of which were a bit muddled and I never got a clear answer on what I could do to improve said performance however this was the only negative feedback I had really gotten that seemed of substance so it is all I have to go on now when trying to understand where I had gone wrong.

I have a more crazy theory that there was something else about my place in the company that caused me to be let go. It was strange that after being put on probation for poor job performance the people who were in charge of rating my job performance and training me to be a better employee seemed to refuse to help. Pleas for more understanding fell on deaf ears as my emails for clarification about what I was doing wrong were ignored. Meetings that were supposed to take place during my probation to review my progress also never happened and my termination came about at 1 month before the end of my probation. All of these factors do make me think that there may have been a different reason than job performance for me to be fired. Perhaps the probation was just a bit of red tape that was required to get the process started of getting me out the door. However theories like this are full of paranoia and narcissism. I am trying to be a bit less self involved so I am choosing to not delve too deep down this path just now. Even if the evidence is there to support such thoughts.

So where does this leave me?

I am 30 and I have been down this road enough times that I am almost not even phased by making big life changes any longer. However I am also getting to the point that I do not think I have the energy for too many more of these. So I don’t know exactly what to do. There is either something wrong with my work ethic or my personality that is causing me to only work places for about 3 years at time before moving on. Historically I have quit jobs after about this much time, this time the choice was out of my hands. Still it seems I may be looking forward to a life of constantly shifting jobs/homes/lifestyles. I may have adapted well to constant flux over the years but I crave stability now more than ever. I have had plenty of adventures in my life and I just want to sit back and enjoy the simple things. I just wish I knew where to start. I suppose as usual I will start at the only place I can, at the end. My time with this company may have come to an end but my journey continues on.

Onward, to the next adventure!

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