vernal freshness efflorescence clear bright fresh light
transforms azure to cerulean and scattered enigmatic white
yet the verdant ground throws still skeletal branches coldly black
words and pictures by jack collier
Night Sweats, Night Terrors, Nightmares, Sleep Terrors.
Night Terrors are not Nightmares ~ typically a nightmare happens when you’re in deep dream sleep, whereas night terrors wake you up, so the experience of a night terror is one of wakefulness. Night terrors are also different from Sleep Terrors, because a night terror will wake you up, whereas with a sleep terror you will have all the symptoms of extreme fear, but you will stay asleep. If you are awake, or partially awake, and terrified in the night, then the chances are you are suffering from night terrors, (which are a recognised psychological disorder).
Nightmares usually occur in the early morning during REM sleep when our dreams are at their most vivid. More often than not we can remember all the cinematographic details of a long, scary nightmarish dream when we first wake. On the other hand, night terrors usually happen during the first part of the night, aren’t part of REM sleep, and we won’t remember anything much other than waking up / being awake in a terrified state.
Typically, night terrors are caused by a previous psychological trauma, (such as an abusive childhood), or by stress, or by substance abuse, (such as drinking too much just before bedtime). However, as one of the causes of drinking too much before bedtime is a mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is itself probably caused by a previous psychological trauma, it’s fair to say that if you suffer from night terrors you’re probably drinking too much and suffered some severe disturbance / abuse / trauma in your past. Chances are if you’re in that situation you’re also feeling very pressured right now, and suffering from the symptoms of undue stress. It’s an illogical Catch-22 situation.
If you suffer from night terrors it’s likely that you wake very suddenly with an intense fear of something unknown / a nameless dread. Your heart will be beating fast, you will be breathing hard and fast, your blood pressure will be elevated, your eyes will be wide and staring, and you will be sweating. This is different from night sweats, which is severe and excessive sweating, without the associated terror. The common causes of night sweats are medical, and some of them are very nasty, such as cancer. However, one other cause of night sweats is drinking too much.
What night terrors will do to you is prevent you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep that most adults need every night. As well as making you feel tired, lethargic, and irritable, not getting enough sleep can cause lots of nasty illnesses such as; high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.
The most likely advice if you have night terrors when you get beyond your teens is that you should see a doctor. Good luck with that one, because the only real cure for night terrors is to treat the underlying problem(s). That will mean doing something about the effects of any psychological trauma in your past, and cutting out whatever drug you’re taking too much of late at night ~ including coffee, booze, prescription drugs, street drugs…
There are some very common-sense things you can do if you suffer from night terrors, sleep terror, nightmares, and / or night sweats ~ without resorting to medication and a long period of talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. None of these are easy, or likely to give you a quick fix, but you should consider;
- Giving up booze completely, or cutting down a lot, and never drinking late at night.
- Quitting smoking ~ and if you smoke do not have a cigarette last thing at night.
- Stop using street drugs, and talk to your doctor about any prescription medication you are on.
- Late at night don’t drink coffee, and don’t eat a meal within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
- Stay hydrated. The average person needs 3 litres / 6 pints of water a day ~ but tea, coffee, wine, and beer don’t really help you to stay properly hydrated.
- Do not take a nap during the day, especially don’t take an afternoon nap.
- Go to bed at the same reasonable time every night, (if you need to be up at 7 am you need to be in bed at 10 pm), and get up at the same reasonable time each morning. Stick to this sleep schedule, even at weekends. Changing the time you go to bed, and the time you get out of bed, wrecks your internal body clock.
- Wind down in the evenings. Don’t use social media late at night or first thing in the morning. Instead practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as meditation and listening to relaxing, classical music.
- During the day get at least an hour of fresh air and moderate / vigorous / strenuous exercise.
- Make sure your bedroom is right for sleep. Your bedroom should be clean, tidy, quiet, very dark, still, and fairly cool, (between 60 and 67 degrees F). You really do need to sleep in total darkness and quiet.
- Make certain your mattress and pillows are comfortable for you. If your mattress is good quality it should last 10 years, after that, get a new one.
- Keep a sleep diary.
An episode of night terror can be brought on by worry, stress, emotional tension, fatigue, conflict, and especially too much alcohol late at night, (or more likely a combination of factors, including booze). How much is too much alcohol? Actually, too much booze is however many drinks puts your health and well-being at risk. For me, one drink is one too many.
After suffering night terrors you are likely to be utterly inconsolable, grown women, (and men), may cry, and the event may be so disturbing that your mind will wipe most of it from your memory. The next morning you won’t be able to remember what terrified you.
In adults, it is most likely that night terrors, sleep terrors, and nightmares have an underlying cause of previous severe stress, trauma, mental and / or physical abuse, and subsequent mental disorders and generalised anxiety. In fact, the underlying causes of sleep problems can be very similar to the underlying causes of addiction.
Not getting enough good quality sleep is a serious matter. The consequences are severe, up to and including death. If you’re suffering from night terrors, sleep terrors, nightmares, night sweats, then you really do need to take action right away. Start with the tips I’ve given above, but if you have to, go and see your doctor.
Office work is injurious to your health.
If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave. In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day). A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.
A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…
However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato. All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift, (elevator). It’s far better for your health, elevators are full of germs, and I got trapped in a full elevator, which isn’t fun.
- Stand up at your desk. Don’t worry what others in the office think, stand up whenever you’re not actually typing on your screen. Anyway, I always used to stand while making phone calls ~ it adds empowerment to your voice. Stand on one leg, shift your weight, lift yourself on your toes and rock back on your heels.
- Take a five-minute break every hour just to walk around the office, make a coffee, go to the bathroom.
- Clean your desk and tidy your environment. The chances are that your desk has more germs on it than a toilet seat. A messy desk and your immediate environs makes you feel stressed ~ and you will be judged on your workspace. Remember, a tidy desk is a happy desk, and a happy desk is an efficient desk.
- Avoid stress by being organised ~ you probably need to learn some effective time management skills, and I’ll write another post on just that topic.
- Don’t eat or drink to relieve stress. Don’t snack on sweet stuffs, you may get bowel cancer. You aren’t actually hungry, you’re just stuffing your face because it makes you feel a little better for a little while. Emotional eating will just make you fat and unhealthy.
- Take a packed lunch to work ~ at least you’ll know what’s in it. Eating out every day, or buying your lunch from a fast food cart or take-out place is very bad for your health. You will get fat, you may get type 2 diabetes, you may get bowel cancer.
- Stay hydrated ~drink water, about a dozen cups, 3 litres, 6 pints or so, every day. Anything with caffeine in it is a diuretic and makes you lose water. Drinking a lot of water gives you a reminder to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom.
- Get outside at lunchtime and during breaks ~ for a start your body needs the vitamin D you get from sunshine.
- Walk, don’t drive. Walking is one of the best exercises you can get, walking meditation is good, and driving is stressful. For Gods’ sakes, don’t take up power walking, it will make you look stupid.
- Move around whenever you can, and however you find it possible. Exercise at your desk. Stretch at your desk. Stand up at your desk and stretch. Go outside and stretch
- Practice breathing exercises and brief meditation.
- Don’t go to the pub / bar with colleagues after work. Drinking after work is dangerous and it marks you out as a drunkard / wastrel / slut / player.
- Go home and eat a healthy dinner. Your evening meal is very important for a healthy life.
- Don’t sit in front of the television in the evenings. Watching television is very bad for your mental and physical health, it also turns you into a boring vegetable. Under no circumstances sit in front of the television eating, drinking, and smoking ~ that will kill you.
- Ditch social media, (or most of it anyway). Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc are all very bad for your health. They also turn your brain into mouldy old dough. Only narcissists use twitter, and only egotists use Facebook anyway.
- Get plenty of quality sleep. You may need between 7 to 9 hours good quality sleep a night. You can make up for sleep afterwards, but you cannot store sleep in advance. Get a routine, go to bed at the same time every night and get up and moving at the same time every morning.
- Have an outdoors active hobby / recreation at the weekends. Go for long walks, play golf, enjoy gardening, the list of outdoors things you can do at weekends is long, varied, and interesting.
Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it? OK, don’t bother to do any of this. Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life. Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should. With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not. It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.
But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.
Get more exercise and have a nice life.
Keep moving forward and opening new doors.
captive in a locked mind
camera behind locked doors
the empty vodka bottle is unkind
imagination’s running distant shores
inhabited in gloom and blackness defined
Europe’s the mayonnaise, but America supplies the lobster.
There are shellfish, and then there are scary shellfish. Shrimp are really easy to cook ~ it’s pretty much impossible for a reasonable cook to make a mess of a shrimp recipe, but after that maybe things get a little more difficult. This week we have a mixture of easy shrimp dishes and some other shellfish, which you may think are scary, but aren’t really.
For our first dish for this week, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, we have these seared scallops on peas with chorizo. This is really an easy dish to make, and would be a brilliant light dinner or impressive starter. As it happens, I like scallops.
Seared Scallops on Peas with Chorizo
Here’s an interesting, gluten-free dish from Heather Christo. Paleo Beet Pesto with Spicy Herb Shrimp. This easy 25 minute recipe ticks so many boxes for me, including; Paleo, Gluten-Free, and Beets ~ beets are another of those superfoods… Anyhow, I also like shrimp.
Paleo Beet Pesto with Spicy Herb Shrimp
Andrea at Cooking With A Wallflower has this super quick and easy recipe for Spicy Garlic Soy Shrimp, I’ve made this dish several times, and I love it. Serve with rice, noodles, or salad.
Spicy Garlic Soy Shrimp
Another shrimp dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious. This is a cool 5 ingredient dinner, Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Shrimp. I really like the look of this 25 minute dish. But then I really like all Cungah’s sheet pan recipes.
Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Shrimp
Well, I’m certain my friend in Orange County will love this dish from Anne at Tasting Everything; bright and healthy coconut soup with rice noodles and mussels. On the other hand, I can’t see my friend making this for herself, so maybe I’ll cook it for her the next time I visit SoCal. Personally, mussels aren’t my favourite shellfish, but this is a great recipe.
Bright and Healthy Coconut Soup with Rice Noodles and Mussels
This is a completely fabulous recipe from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes; Cioppino, a San Francisco Fisherman’s fish and shellfish stew. You need the freshest possible crab, shrimp, clams / mussels, and a good white fish, but it makes a brilliant dish. I love it.
And, finally for this week ~ Lobster. And we have a collection of 35 Lobster Recipes from Great British Chefs. This collection includes this classic Grilled Lobster from Bryan Webb. Just how impressive do you want to be?
Many, many thanks to all the great cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday.
Sports Car, Cool Car, Girl’s Car.
At a time when mainstream British car manufacturers thought it impossible to go on making small convertible sports cars, Mazda from Japan came up with the M-X5. The little Mazda carried the torch first lit by classic English sports cars like the Austin-Healey Sprite, MGB, Triumph Spitfire ~ and in particular the brilliant Lotus Elan. The original Mazda M-X5 could almost have been copied from the Elan, what with its 1.6 litre twin-cam engine, pop-up headlights, and clever longitudinal truss, (Power Plant Frame), that mimics the Elan’s backbone chassis.
The MX-5 wasn’t designed in Japan either ~ it was planned in California by a team led by Englishman Bob Hall. An Englishman in California is just about the perfect combination when it comes to cars. Of course what the Mazda team didn’t copy from Colin Chapman’s Lotus was fragility, unreliability, and extreme lightness.
First launched at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, the M-X5 was and is a fairly small front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster, with a twin-cam engine of between 1.6 and 2.0 litres. There’s a five-speed gearbox in the middle, double wishbone independent suspension at both ends, and disk brakes, (ventilated at the front). The original model weighed in at almost exactly ton, (which is a portly 600 pounds more than the diminutive Lotus). It even looked like a Lotus Elan ~ which was no bad thing.
As well as the looks and layout, what the original design team got right was balance. The unladen M-X5 has an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, which means that the handling ~ the feel of the car when you drive it ~ is just about perfect. This makes the little Mazda a ‘nice’ and ‘fun’ car to own and drive.
The M-X5 is by no means a fast car. The 1989 original came with just about the same power as a Lotus Elan, but it weighed a third more, so it was a tad sluggish. The traffic-light sprint 0-60 mph time was over 8 seconds and it would run out of steam at about 115 mph. But do you know what? With the top down, on country roads, with the brilliant handling and roadholding the design naturally produces, the original M-X5 was more than fast enough.
Among older English car enthusiasts the word to describe the way an M-X5 drives is ‘chuckable’. (It reacts easily, safely, and can be forced into doing things it really shouldn’t ~ it probably won’t kill you.)
The little Mazda is also a great car for a long road trip. It’s a nice place to sit for hours, rides fairly comfortably and quietly, there’s decent luggage space, it’s economical, and the top comes down. What’s not to like?
If you are mechanically minded with some practical skills, you could buy yourself an early M-X5 for a couple of thousand pounds / dollars. The thing is simple enough to allow a complete rebuild, in the same way that one could rebuild an MGB. But why would you bother? The Mazda M-X5 is a classic design, but it isn’t actually rare, (unless it’s a really early car in light blue mica or British Racing Green), and a newer car needing much less work is within the spending reach of just about everyone.
A new M-X5 will set you back around £20,000, (or $30,000), depending on the exact specification. For that you will get a very capable, very over-engineered, and very over-styled car that is so attractively modern-metrosexual it should only be bought by make-up artists, hairdressers, or real estate agents.
At the upper end of the scale a new M-X5, the fastback with a retractable steel roof will cost you about £28,000, (you can get one of these for $35,000 in California). That would also give you a 160 bhp two-litre engine and six-speed gearbox, all in an overstyled package that weighs in at 2,470 pounds ~ no thanks.
The new M-X5 is so far away from its Lotus Elan spiritual inspiration that it’s not even in the same millennium. I would not waste my money on a new M-X5. If I was really in the market for one of these little Japanese / English / Californian sports cars I would look for an early example, pop-up headlights and everything. In comparison to rebuilding a rotted MGB, working on a Mazda would be child’s play. The three critical areas for structural soundness are the Power Plant Frame and the front and rear subframes, and all three can be replaced.
Some cars are obvious Guy, some Girl, and a few go both ways. Why is the Mazda a Girl’s Car? If you have to ask then you’re either a girl, or a metrosexual male who doesn’t know one end of a torque-wrench from the other. You wouldn’t expect to spoil your manicure if you owned a new Mazda M-X5.
Would I buy one? Yes, so long as it does look like a Lotus Elan.
if you’re fond of beaches and salty air
pretty seashells found everywhere
then someday I’ll take you there
words and pictures by jack collier
Big Brother is watching You.
Sometimes it’s called Political Correctness, and sometimes Equality and Diversity, and sometimes Inclusively, but by whatever name it’s a sickness taking over our society in the name of Human Rights. If you say the wrong thing, if your opinions don’t fit in, if anyone thinks you show disrespect towards minorities, you too could be prosecuted for a hate crime.
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. ~ George Orwell, from 1984.
Along with many, many other UK Institutions All Souls College, Oxford, now has a diversity officer, whose job it is to warn or discipline colleagues who stereotype, show disrespect towards minorities, or create a climate in which an individual might feel their dignity infringed. That sounds a lot like thought police to me.
Campuses that were once havens of free speech are now patrolled and regulated by thought police. Intellectual dishonesty has become a job requirement for University Administrators. ~ Michael Barone.
A woman, 26, appeared in court accused of raping a man, twice. How the hell does that work? How can a woman rape a man? Turns out that the rapist, Katie Brennan, was born a man, but we weren’t initially allowed to know that because of the political correctness surrounding misgendering. To qualify as rape I assume that Katie Brennan still had male genitals at the time of the assault, but we aren’t allowed to know that either. I do know that, for a woman, the transgender Katie Brennan looks like a bloke.
The militant transgender lobby are powerful, and have found natural allies within the left-leaning liberal BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation). Anyone who questions the self-proclaimed ‘rights’ of transgender people will be silenced.
Axe, machete, knife, truck, and bomb attacks all across Europe are responded to by anti-terror squads, even though nobody in the media ever calls these incidents terrorism, and certainly never Islamic religious terrorism. In order to fit in with multiculturalism we are usually told that the attacker comes from somewhere that isn’t on President Trump’s list of banned countries, (until the real story comes out). Even the British Government are keen to push this non-Islamic terrorism line by saying that one in three terror suspects arrested in Britain last year was white. Which means that two-thirds of those arrested in the UK on suspicion of being a terrorist was non-white. Only 10% of the censored UK population is non-white ~ so 10% of our population commit 66% of terrorist attacks. Yet, nobody is ever allowed to say that Islamic extremism is a problem in Great Britain ~ because of Political Correctness.
The term ‘Political Correctness’ has always appalled me, reminding me of Orwell’s ‘Thought Police’ and fascist regimes. ~ Helmut Newton
The thought police are powerful enough to stifle scientific debate, change world politics, and even dictate the car you drive to work. Anyone who dares to challenge the politically correct view that man-made carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic anthropogenic climate change will be labeled a ‘denier’. This is the language of religious intolerance and has nothing to do with science. You know what? The whole man-made global warming industry is a scam, and pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes will have the proponents of global warming going into fits of apoplexy. But respectable scientists never question the man-made global warming mantra because to do so would mean that they never again get published, never get another grant, see their tenure cut off… Question anthropogenic climate change and your career as a scientist is over.
Women can say anything they want to men, or blacks to whites, with impunity. But strong words in the other direction can bring down the wrath of the thought police, as well as punishments… ~ Thomas Sowell
I am English, and I like to think I’m a Gentleman, so there are some things I would never say in public, and there are some opinions which are an anathema to me. However, there are some things I’d like to say, and some thoughts I’d like to think, that I’m not allowed to for fear of running up against the Politically Correct, Diversity Inclusive, Thought Police. I thought we’d spent the last few hundred years working and fighting for freedom of thought and expression.
Maybe not. Maybe I am a prisoner in my own land.
Remember, Big Brother is watching You.
Marijuana is addictive. Marijuana eases pain.
Among all the alternative truths, fake news, denial, and propaganda aimed at the legalisation of cannabis / pot / marijuana are a couple of recent reports by ‘real scientists and doctors’ which clearly show that marijuana is quite likely to ruin your health, destroy your quality of life, and quite possibly kill you.
The first report compiled by the National Inpatient Study in the USA shows that marijuana use significantly increases your risk of suffering a stroke and / or heart failure, as well as exacerbating some other factors known to increase significantly cardiovascular disease including; obesity, alcoholism, high blood pressure, and smoking tobacco.
Meanwhile, a report by the Institute of Living in Connecticut, clearly shows that marijuana use makes young people stupid ~ especially when combined with booze. Of the people I know who use marijuana, ALL of them are also heavy drinkers, bordering on alcoholism. Honestly, I do not ever want to be around anyone who uses this stupid drug for recreational reasons.
Also in the USA, Narconon states that marijuana use significantly increases the risk of road traffic accidents, accidents in the home and workplace, psychosis, and schizophrenia. In fact, the chances are than anyone you know who suffers from schizophrenia has been a heavy user of marijuana at some time in their lives.
It’s well know that marijuana makes people have mental time and space distortions, poor coordination, impaired communication skills, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and terrible cognitive skills. The effects of the drug can last up to four weeks, so anyone who has used marijuana in the last four weeks shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the need to make important decisions. Anyone who has made an important decision within four weeks of using cannabis should seriously think again.
Despite what the proponents of marijuana use might say, marijuana is addictive. One in 11 people who smoke cannabis will become addicted, rising to one in six if marijuana use starts in adolescence. However, addiction is a complex problem, with multiple addictions being the most common way that lives are destroyed. Any regular user of marijuana probably also drinks, smokes tobacco, gambles, binge eats, and is most likely addicted to all of those life-destroying habits and more. There is a strong chance that anyone with multiple addictions / an addictive personality, is also suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, and should seek immediate medical treatment. (This is unlikely because most who are addicted, or suffer from borderline personality disorder, will be in the last stages of denial.)
Other downsides of cannabis use; it stinks worse than tobacco, causes lung cancer and other cancers just like tobacco, can cost you a fortune, and used anywhere that it’s illegal or against workplace regulations can land you in serious trouble. Using marijuana isn’t cool in any way, shape, or form, because it makes you talk and act like a deranged fool.
However, in the USA this addictive drug is now legal for recreational use in; Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington DC ~ mostly left-leaning Democrat states. Cannabis is still illegal in Great Britain, but the police take so little notice that you’d have to be growing and selling the stuff in industrial quantities to get into any trouble from the law. Urban left-leaning liberals are very keen to have pot legalised in the United Kingdom ~ the fools.
There is some strong evidence that the medicinal use of marijuana can alleviate the symptoms of some very nasty diseases, mostly reducing nausea and pain, but the medical effects have not been properly tested in the way that a new, mainstream drug would be tested before being allowed anywhere near patients.
Using marijuana is incredibly stupid. Personally, I think you would have to be seriously loose of a few screws in the brain to go anywhere near this noxious weed. Personally, I have enough problems without ever going anywhere near cannabis or a cannabis user. Unless I was in severe pain, and the weed was the only way I could get through the day.
Have fun, smoke cannabis, and cure or kill yourself. Have a nice day.