Why Blog….?

Blogging isn’t a new venture for me. I’ve been keeping online journals for years but here lately, I have had the itch to let my knowledge flow forth unto the hands of would be readers. My multi-faceted interests allow me to delve deep into many specifics topics but I think that I will enjoy finding out what narrow road that I shall venture.

I love food but I’m not a chef. I am however a strawberry blonde, which leads me to have a higher sense of taste than your average person. That may sound far fetched but…I’m really not making that up. 🙂 I believe that I will make another journal for my food adventures because I love traveling around to different restaurants and giving my opinions about everything from the wait staff, the atmosphere or the food itself. I would love to not only inform potential ‘foodies’ about new places to eat but to make it more streamline and okay for people to be more observant and appreciative of the little nuances that we take for granted in our every day lives.

I also love pop culture. I’m a self confessed pop culture geek and find myself caught up yearning to make that lifestyle less of a taboo lifestyle. I have a son and I don’t want him growing up in a world that reading a comic book makes him a ‘dork’ or watching Pokemon would cause him to not be cool. We all should yearn to have individual lives and grow up wanting to fit into any stereotypical crowd. That is the beauty of being a multifaceted person. In the realm of Pop Culture, there are so many people writing on so many diverse topics, but I would like to join the ranks. I would like to fill a void in the community at large and not generalize the topics but to extend my reaches into the void of all pop culture. So look out geekdom. 🙂

Throughout this next year, I hope to write every day. I hope to allow someone to be positively touched by my poetry or my blogging. That is my hope. My dream is to be appreciated for the words that I bleed out on the metaphorical paper.

Day 5’s Ode to a Metaphor riddled Map

Day 5’s Ode to a Metaphor riddled Map

When everything changes, but nothing changes at all,

you know that you are home.

We see no rolling hills. We feel no wet heather

on the ground of which we trod.

Man can smell the stench of mediocrity,

but will refuse to admit when it reeks of grief.

We are born, we marry, we give birth, we grow old, we die;

in that dot on a map.

Nights holding ourselves in a culpable tribunal;

some look to the stars and dream BUT

do we dare feed the lion inside our hearts?

Do we dare light that candle in our spirits?

Do we dare accept that life is more than a dream?

Do we fight the darkness or will we realize that

everything will stay the same,

it is we who have to change it.

“Chris, roll over! You woke me up with your snoring again!”

Anthony Burgess, author of one of my favorite books “A Clockwork Orange” said to “Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore and you sleep alone.” So…why do we snore? My English Bulldog snores because she has a short nasal passage. Even though I find it quite adorable, it gets annoying right in the middle of my 80th viewing of Roadhouse. So why does something that happens to almost all of us, end up being something that could not only be potentially dangerous to your health but could quite literally kill you added to the fact that it is completely annoying to the 59% of questioned adults who say that their spouses snore. With most of the tested subjects snoring at an estimated 38 decibels, why wouldn’t we as the listeners complain about hearing something that is as loud as your kitchen’s refrigerator? Well the answer to how we stop snoring is convoluted. The answer of ‘why’ can be easily answered.

Snoring is essentially the sound that is produced when your upper airway structure vibrates during inhalation and exhalation. Any membrane that is in the pathsleep apnea of this airway (including your tongue, soft palate, uvula, tonsils and throat wall can vibrate during this act. While we are asleep, the muscles throughout our body relax. Your throat and tongue are muscles, therefore your airway also relaxes and causes the space that the air has to travel to become tighter and this tightened air space combined with the vibrations cause the lion’s roar that our pets, family members, spouses or room mates hear every night during our time of slumber.

Snoring is not a sickness.  Its not a disease. Its a symptom. Just as a cough is a symptom of the common cold, snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is however a disorder. The restful slumber of a person with sleep apnea is riddled with the loud roar of snoring as well as the labored breathing that usually is also riddled with pauses or gasps during the person’s slumber. This obstructed pause results from a COMPLETE obstruction of the airway and sometimes even causes a decrease in our body’s oxygen level. Just like our reaction to someone pinching our noses in the middle of the night, we sleep apnea sufferers terminate this obstruction by waking up. This constant waking and restless slumber leads to fragmented, less restful sleep. Sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of attention span and poor concentration levels.

And if you didn’t catch it earlier, I inferred that I have sleep apnea. I have snored since I don’t know when and I have tortured friends, family, a roommate, my wife and my child with thunderous snores for as long as I can remember. As I mentioned earlier, obstructive sleep apnea can cause a loss of oxygen in the body but it can also cause increased hypertension and over time can cause extreme damage to your heart and vascular system. I, for one, want to live as long as possible so that I can see my son grow and live out my ‘happily ever after’. The other consequence of the fragmented sleep that I spoke of earlier is daytime sleepiness and poor concentration levels. These symptoms can sometimes take effect while driving. Now I don’t know if you realize this or not but sleeping and driving is not adviced to be done at the same time. Ever. Ever. Ever. By anyone. Falling asleep while driving is a risk factor that I met in an all too familiar way. Sleep apnea almost caused God to claim my forgiven soul a little earlier than I figured that he would. While driving home one night, a symptom of sleep apnea crept up on me like a pouncing tiger. I fell asleep while driving. I flipped my truck multiple times and ended up with a totaled truck and multiple points on my insurance.

Now before you go judging me and refusing to ever get in a car while I am driving, let me freak you out by saying that there is no real cure for sleep apnea. There is no cure-all pill for the 22 million of us that suffer from sleep apnea. And the possibility of someone snoring and/or developing sleep apnea only increases when we as a populous add in our weight gain, consumption of large quantities of alcohol, allergies, drug use, use of muscle relaxants or sedatives, and most importantly smoking; but there is supposed to be hope. Now by hope I am referencing the gamut of simple, noninvasive items that open the nasal passages to that truly invasive surgical procedure. I have tried Breathe Right Strips and I still snored like a freight train. These strips work by gently lifting the nasal passage from the outside. But alas these strips did not help me. I’ve even heard home remedies of sewing tennis balls to the back of your night shirt to keep you from laying on your back because unless you know this from personal experience you snore A LOT worse on your back. This is caused by your neck being at a different position; thusly causing your throat to have an even worse obstruction.

Now of course, there are easy solutions: lose a lot of weight, don’t smoke, don’t drink lots of alcohol, take allergy medicine to prevent having complications from allergies; but as before, these are merely bandaids to help fix a gushing wound. They do not repair the problem. There is always the other solution…me going under a surgeons knife and having some of the vibrating tissue removed from the back of my throat but that seems a bit too drastic for me, especially since the success rate is usually only a 50% reduction in snoring.

For me, help with my snoring problem came in the hands of a Sleep Apnea Breathing Machine. I had spent many years, waking my wife up from her beauty sleep to know that something had to happen. I also was having complications with being sleepy during the day and I did not want to have another one of those falling asleep behind the wheel episodes. I had the appropriate breathing test done at a sleep clinic and found out that I stopped breathing an extremely dangerous amount of times during the night and my oxygen level at night was dangerously low.sleep study

sleep machineAfter trudging through years of not being able to breath and torturing those around me, (sorry about that everyone) I finally can breath easily and others around me can sleep soundly through the night.

If you can call wearing a Darth Vader mask that forces air down your throat ‘breathing easily’.

🙂

Bagpipes…there not just for guys in kilts.

Bagpipes…there not just for guys in kilts.

Scotland’s national symbol, the bagpipe, has made itself known throughout the world with its unique sound and appearance as something to behold. With 200 varieties spread among the continents, each has become a part of rich culture. Believe it or not, the earliest origins of the bagpipe were actually found in Egypt and then later migrated into Eastern Europe.  bagpipe player big jaws

Bagpipe players are a great choice for funeral services, corporate events, private parties, wedding ceremonies and receptions. So bring a bit of Scottish culture to your next event and hire a bagpiper to captivate guests with its beautiful resonance of sound.

Importance of Buying Silver Age Comics

I would really like to buy these comic book from someone. But I am broke.

avengers silver age comicThe popularity and circulation of comic books about superheroes declined following World War II, and comic books about horror, crime and romance took larger shares of the market. However, controversy arose over alleged links between comic books and juvenile delinquency, focusing in particular on crime and horror titles. In 1954, publishers implemented the Comics Code Authority to regulate comic content. In the wake of these changes, publishers began introducing superhero stories again, a change that began with the introduction of a new version of DC ComicsThe Flash in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956). In response to strong demand, DC began publishing more superhero titles including Justice League of America, which prompted Marvel Comics to follow suit beginning with Fantastic Four #1. Silver Age comics have become collectible, with a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), the debut of Spider-Man, selling for $1.1 million in 2011.

First appearance of Spiderman
First appearance of Spiderman

I hope that if anyone sees this post that they realize that I did this as a joke.

X-Men Number 1
X-Men Number 1

The creme de la creme of Marvel comic collecting is the first appearance of the X-men. This issue is The X-Men #1.

Geek Chic: The Revenge of the Nerds

Geek Chic: The Revenge of the Nerds

When I was little, it wasn’t cool to be a ‘nerd’. I have never claimed to be a ‘nerd’ or gone by any other stereotype, but after spending 5 minutes with me you would change your mind. My obsession with He-Man, my love of Doctor Who or my comic book collection definitely push the boundaries of nerdom. I guess my reluctance to call or consider myself a ‘nerd’ is because of the negative stigma that has always been attached to the term. I have a problem with anyone being categorized or put into a box because of something that differentiates them from other people. But a study last year has recently categorized the “Nerdiest States in America”. This formulated breakdown of the American “Nerdom’ disturbs me because of what it lists as the criteria of being a ‘nerd/geek’.

The researchers used 12 areas of interest to build their master list. To do this, they analyzed Facebook data for every U.S. state (including the District of Columbia) to determine the percentage of users who fell under these categories. The categories were:

Star Trek: the Next Generation

Cosplay

Harry Potter

Star Wars

Anime Movies

Dungeons and Dragons

LARPing (Live Action Role-Playing)

Doctor Who

Fantasy Lit

Lord of the Rings

Magic: The Gathering

Comic Books

This list makes me out to be a HUGE nerd. I love 9 out of 12 of the items listed. I would like to think that I have grown into an extremely eclectic person but should I pigeonhole myself because I am a fan of almost all of these items on this list? I truly hate being categorized. I hate it because of the years that I spent being being bullied as a child and an adolescent. I DO NOT like discrimination of any kind and Webster’s Dictionary defines “Discrimination” as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people”. So wouldn’t a kid in elementary school being bullied for reading comic books be bullying? Wouldn’t a teenager who is picked on by his classmates for liking Dungeons and Dragons a form of discrimination? The answer is pure and simple: yes.

I do not like this overt categorization for ‘nerdism’ because of my avert hatred of bullying. I fear the ostracization of the younger generation of kids, like my own son, who is into a lot of things on this list (and some things that aren’t). I don’t want my son growing up scared to admit that he likes comic books because they are too nerdy nor do I want him to stop reading and watching Harry Potter because someone thinks that those people are nerds. Does the fact that I like Doctor Who and collect comic books make me any less of a person? Do my He-Man figures and collectibles make me any less of a man? Does the fact that we watched a comic book based movie last night make me and my wife bad parents? Should I be placed in a category which for many years been been the ‘shunned’ part of the populous. If kids hear their parents talking about ‘nerd stuff’ or older brothers and sisters referring to a boy playing with Pokemon cards as ‘nerdy’ then that will become something that that child could be picked on about? I don’t want my child or any other child for that matter to be bullied. I don’t think that any child should be judged when he decides to wear a Star Wars shirt or wants to participate in LARPing after school.

My home state of North Carolina comes in 45th on the list of Nerdiest states. So does that mean that my children will be ostracized for not fitting in with the populous around them? Does that mean that because we or I don’t fit the standard deviation of what is ‘normal’ so much that there should be some kind of special category for me/us? Or is it something else?

With Comic and Pop culture conventions are popping up all over the place and ‘nerdy’ things are all over popular culture…why are the ‘normal’ ones scared to admit that its okay to be nerdy? On TV, geek-chic is the new cool. One of the most popular TV sitcoms is Big Bang Theory, who’s characters showcase a love for every item on that ‘ner’d list. Comic book based movies are #1 at the box office. Doctor Who is a world wide phenomena. The four day event in San Diego known as Comic-Con boasted over 130,000 attendants in 2012 (an is showing exponential growth every year). So why must the geek be ashamed? Why must the nerds run and hide? if I must categorize myself, I guess am proud to say that I am a nerd. I will proudly watch Doctor Who, read my comic books and continue with my somewhat strange obsession with He-Man. I will continue to buy Pokemon cards for my son, with whom I will not stop playing Pokemon cards while watching Guardians of the Galaxy while he is wearing his Hogwarts shirt.