Peter Parker’s been deceased for a year. A year. Sigh. I suppose it’s time to move on. I simply cannot love Otto Octavius, even if he is in P.P.’s body (ASM #700 in case you were doing anything other than pining for an expired comic book super-hero last September). I thought I might have been falling for Tony Stark briefly, but it was a passing infatuation. However, I’ve recently become intrigued by a new fictional cartoon boy.
We recently purchased Megamind for the boy, at my urging. (He really wanted it. Really.) I’d seen the movie already and, like many of Dreamwork’s cartoon movies, it caused me to laugh my ass off. Even still, it wasn’t until watching the movie a few times that I developed my new admiration for the bad to good super-genius with the complexion “of a popular primary color.” Firstly, he has some similarities to P.P., well only one, his scientific genius. That’s really all the two have in common. BUT, I realized there was much Megamind and I have in common. For example, we have the same taste in music. His wardrobe is quite impressive, except he’d might have to give up those baby seal skin leather boots. I can’t deny they look cool, though. And, in some ways that are similar but different, we both decided to change our lives toward the positive. Also, we’re both short.
The only video I could find that I wanted to use here has Asian subtitles, so, if you can read them, COOL! If not just ignore them and watch the video. K thanks.
Beside what we have in common, he makes me laugh. That always really wins me over. I’m really into blue, too. A lot. It was one thing I loved about P.P., his red and blue suit. And while Megamind: Defender of Metrocity might not look as steaming hot in the Black Mamba as P.P. looked in his tights, he has kind of a cute tush. I also enjoy his languid movements, and evil laugh. Oh, just everything.
But alas, there is Roxanne Ritchie, whom Megamind deserves. Because they’re both fictional cartoon people, and I’m just a fan-girl with unrequited, and possibly psychosis linked, love interests.
(Disclaimer: Megamind and everything with his likeness on it is the property of Dreamworks Animation and Paramount Studios. Peter Parker, Spider-Man, and any likenesses thereof are the properties of Stan the Man Lee and Marvel Comics [and now The Walt Disney Company].)
(Disclaimer Disclaimer: While I am a fan of Will Ferrell, please don’t analyze my Megamind crush as some Freudian, unconscious desire for his body. Thank You.)
Last night was sleep study number two. If you’re just tuning in, you can read about night one and the morning after here and here, respectively. The point of last night’s study was to test my breathing on the CPAP machine. For you laymen out there, CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Essentially, when the wearer inhales, the CPAP machine assists by forcing an amount of pressure and air into the airway, thereby preventing apnea-or more specifically in my case Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When a patient experiences OSA, his/her airway collapses, preventing oxygen from traveling to its natural habitat inside the human body, the lungs-and ultimately the blood and other organs. Hypoxemia (lack of oxygen) can effect the human body in numerous ways, including but not limited to sleep deprivation, fatigue, weight gain, seizures, heart disease, organ failure, and death. To name a few.
I went to the hospital last night expecting the same as before, electrodes and wires and sticky things stuck all over and around my body. I was fitted with these contrivances by an all too giddy therapist, taking a shot in the dark here by assuming she’s with respiratory. While attaching all these wires and whatnot, she explained the benefits and importance of using a CPAP machine when one has OSA. She described the mask to me, how it works (of this I was already vaguely familiar as my son Robot Boy is ventilator dependent). The CPAP machine I’ll use is much smaller and less complex than his vent, and I will only require it during sleep. RB is on CPAP mode during the day, but he is on the rate at night, meaning the ventilator is giving him breaths instead of simply giving him a small amount of pressure support.
After being fitted with all these niceties (used with extreme sarcasm) and taking my sleepy time medicine, I lay on my back -per the instructions of the overly giddy Paula Dean-esque therapist. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep. First there were some exercises to perform. “Turn your eyes to the left and the right,” Paula Dean said over a monitor. “Leave your eyes open for thirty seconds.” This is more difficult than it seems. “Open your mouth for ten seconds.” Breathing (and talking) while wearing the CPAP mask with the machine on is quite strenuous. Imagine having extra air pushed into your lungs while you inhale to say, ” Yes”, “That’s comfortable enough”, and “I have to go to the bathroom.” That is what’s happening.
I know I was in REM sleep for a while before I started to drown. I was underwater, a whale-shark with its gaping maw inhaling seawater instead of oxygen. My mouth was open, and I was gasping for air, but with the CPAP machine administering positive pressure, breathing through my mouth became arduous. I was suffocating. My brain told me to remove the pulse/ox on my finger to call the therapist. I did, or rather dreamed I did. Twice. Before finally waking up, chugging air down my partially collapsed airway against the positive pressure that was, at the time, less of a help and more of a hindrance.
I tore the pulse/ox from my left index finger as the therapist was coming in the door. She explained she should increase the pressure. I agreed. The thought of having more air in my lungs was splendid. Paula Dean adjusted the machine, and I lay back down, trying to recover and relax. As a lifelong insomniac, it’s not a simple task for me to wake and fall back to sleep on a dime. So for about an hour I lay there with my eyes closed trying to sleep and trying not to concentrate on the air being forced up my nose.
My back was hurting. I turned my legs to the left with my torso straight. Paula Dean came back in. “What’s the matter, darling? You’ve been awake a while.” “My back hurts.” “I thought it was your back. Do you want to lay on your side?” I said yes, and turned onto my left side with my legs pulled up. I had to pee, but I didn’t want to with all those attachments. Hoping I could ignore the need, and everything else involved, I closed my eyes hoping for more sleep.
The new position meant the mask shifted, and I had a strange farting noise resonating off my cheek and into my right ear. I adjusted my face, and the farting stopped, but it was followed by a leak of cold air that, when blowing across my face, aggravated an old cheek bone injury I’d incurred several years ago when I fell flat on my face, knocking myself unconscious. This went on for another length of time before I decided to try to adjust the mask. I did finally and closed my eyes trying to sleep again.
The sound of the machine, with its pressure forcing air into the mask, sounded like ambient ocean background noise. I imagined waves coming onto the beach and sweeping back out again. I imagined torrents crashing into high rock walls. Nothing made a difference. After however long, Paula Dean came back into the room and asked what was going on again. I admitted I had to pee. She obliged, but all the wires had to come with. After taking one of the most careful pees of my life, I returned to bed. I decided to lie on my back, assuming the corpse pose.
It worked. After just a few minutes, I fell back to sleep. I dreamed odd and vibrant dreams for about three hours before Paula Dean came in to wake me. “I let you sleep an hour later than usual since you were finally sleeping so good.” I stayed in a deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep for over an hour. “That’s a really long time!” exclaimed Paula Dean.
After brushing my teeth, using the bathroom yet again, and filling out some paperwork, I was escorted outside to the parking lot. I said goodbye to Paula Dean and went to my car. I rolled down the windows and turned on the windshield wipers to remove the overnight condensation. I plugged my cell phone into the charger and checked Facebook (priorities!), and then I turned on the radio. Low Rider was playing. I raised the volume to an unacceptable decibal level, put on my eye patch, and drove home.
Low Rider written by Charles Miller and the band War and appearing on their 1975 album Why Can’t We Be Friends? (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Rider)
Happy Halloween! The most wonderful day of the year. It’s almost sad the Halloween season has come to an end. (Well, it doesn’t really have to end, does it? Some of us prefer to be delightfully frightful all the time.)
Started the afternoon with the original shock rocker, the wonderfully horrifying and deliciously frightening Mr. Alice Cooper on the iPod. So glad he’s still touring because maybe one day I’ll get to see him live. I’m keeping the nightmare alive.
Unfortunately, we’re confined to the hospital room today, but we’re satisfying the spirits with some Tim Burton classics and enjoying the decorations.
I’m working on another scary story to share tonight. You can read more about it here. (P.S. The frightful fun isn’t going to end just because Halloween has passed. I’m going to continue to share my own and accept your stories. >;8} )
But aside from sharing my scary stories with everyone, I’d like to share some unnerving Halloween entertainment with you. Some of my favorite books and haunting tales.
1) Anything by Poe. Really. Just anything. But if you’d like something more specific, some of my favorites:
– Premature Burial. I had this story on tape (yes, tape), and hearing it read was way more terrifying than reading it. This story is scary stuff.
– Masque of the Red Death. “There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.” Enough said.
-The Tell Tale Heart. In case you’re not familiar with this story, it involves murder, severe anxiety, and pulling up a few floor boards.
-The Black Cat. One of my favorites as a kid. I’ve always loved cats. Apparently, Poe’s characters didn’t, but they loved walling or holing people inside of things.
-The Pit and the Pendulum. What’s scarier than the Spanish Inquisition?
-The Raven. A classic. Needs no explanation.
2) Stephen King. Same as Poe. Just about anything the King of Horror has produced will induce fear. But again, I’ll share some of my favorites.
-Salem’s Lot. What? Vampires are really nightmarish creatures that want you to die in a horrible manner or else turn you into a demon-like monster like themselves? No sparkles here. Scary as hell.
-Pet Sematary. If Fluffy or Boo Boo kicks the bucket, just let them go. Seriously. You don’t want to know the alternative.
-Misery. Because being a writer isn’t terrifying enough.
-Gerald’s Game. A good example of why bondage is not a good idea in a secluded setting.
-Night Shift. Collection of short stories including The Lawnmower Man, Jerusalem’s Lot, Trucks, and Children of the Corn.
I could go on forever . . . Or at least for several hours or maybe a day.
3) Samuel Taylor Coleridge
-The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. If you think this tale is just a bunch of hooey you learned in 12th grade lit class, think again. This poem involves sailors lost at sea, death, a curse, a ghostly vessel manned by a nightmarish woman (“Life-in-Death, was she”) and Death, and living corpses.
“They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
“The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools –
We were a ghastly crew.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
4) Mary Shelley
-Frankenstein. I love this story. Forget everything you saw in a Universal Movie when you read it. It’s chilling, sinister, and moving.
There are so many more wonderfully chilling stories and novels available. This is a terribly short list. But it’s a start. Happy haunting boys and ghouls!
I don’t remember a lot from the past. In the last couple of years I’ve developed this frustrating memory problem that’s hindered my recognition. But there are some things which I can recall in vivid detail.
One of those things is sitting in my childhood friends’ living room and watching this video, as mere adolescents emulating the silliness our favorite band’s members were exhibiting. Yes, we were Queen fans even then. This single was released in March 1991. I was eleven.
It was no wonder why it appealed to us then, what with Freddie Mercury’s Mad Hatter attire, John Deacon’s jester’s hat, Roger Taylor with a functioning tea kettle on his head, and Brian May’s enormous beak and penguinesque tuxedo. And, don’t forget the actual penguins.
For sure at the time it was funny and cute to us, and we were enthralled by the song as much as the video.
But Freddie passed away later that same year, and it wasn’t until some years later that I was able to understand and appreciate an undertone in this video of which I was before unaware. Freddie’s heavy makeup and the video’s being shot in black in white concealed how ill he really was. As I got older and my appreciation for these artists grew, I learned that Innuendo, off which this song was released as a single, was Queen’s last studio album during Freddie’s life, having been released only ten months prior to his death.
Now back to the video, a little back story about myself, and why this seemingly silly nonsense is so important to me. As I’ve mentioned, I recall seeing this video with the two best friends I had growing up. We lived across the street, and we knew each other as far back as we can remember. They are twins, and I was a single child. But I didn’t long for companionship because we were always together. Except when we were in school and those annoying times when our parents forced us to go inside for sleep.
We played outside until it got dark, and sometimes even after that as long as we were in the front or back yard. I had a turntable and a bunch of my parents’ old records and I’d record them to a tape (Shh! Don’t tell. We didn’t know it was piracy back then.) I had a portable cassette player, and we’d listen to music and run around outside until our parents felt we were calm enough to re-enter the house.
Anyway, we listened to a lot of classic rock (still do), and Queen was on the playlist a lot. We had a plush toy named Freddie Flamingo, and he loved to dance to “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I even had the original vinyl Jazz album with all the naked ladies on the inside jacket, most of whom were not fat bottomed, by the way.
One memory I have is of me and my friend, my very dear friend, running amok in my back yard and listening to “You’re My Best Friend.” My friend stopped running-we were literally running-and said, “Donnell, you’re my best friend.” I thanked her and said she was mine, too, and we got back to the business at hand. There’s a reason whenever I listen to A Night at the Opera I skip this song. Even though I still cry all the way through “’39.”
In our early twenties, my dear friend, my best friend, passed away. Her life had gone in a different direction than mine, and I’d watched her become someone I didn’t know. But she’d rediscovered herself, and we were finally getting reacquainted. I spoke to her on either a Sunday or Monday. As I’ve said, my memory is not what it once was. I was visiting my mom, and I asked her to come over. She declined because she didn’t want to leave her grandmother, who was ill. Later that week, my friend went to sleep and suffered a grand mal seizure. If ever death was a thief in the night, it was that night.
I want to show you all more photos of my friends, of us together, but in 2005 Hurricane Katrina obliterated my home town. She took my home and with it all the photos and memories I had of my dear friend. The only ones I have now were sent to me by others who were able to salvage their own photos.
The aforementioned is only one part of why this video and Queen’s music in general is so special to me. A big part. But only a part.
I wrote about Innuendo being released only months before Freddie’s passing, and this video being made when he was quite ill. His health was declining, yet he continued to work and create amazing music alongside his band mates.
What I like most, though, is how happy Freddie looks in this video. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun. I find it such an inspiring attribute, being so joyous and knowing he was terminal. It’s something I hang on to in this time of my life, facing the worst challenge ever and knowing it very well might end tragically. I find inspiration in Freddie’s ability to laugh during that time of his life, the months leading up to the end of his life.
However, “I’m Going Slightly Mad” isn’t the only song on Innuendo I find uplifting. There are several, but one that I find more so than others is the song “Don’t Try So Hard.” This song is profound to me-thinking of Freddie writing it at the end of his life, and knowing it. I find comfort in the lyrics, almost the kind you feel receiving guidance from an elder. Someone who’s been down a road on which you hope to embark, artistically I mean. Except that I’m no musician. The song is one I go to when I feel like I’m running on a treadmill of rejection and literary atrophy. It also helps me focus on what is important, even when I feel
overwhelmed. I’d like to share the lyrics now.
Of course reading it is not the same as hearing it, which you can do this way QueenOnline.com or by visiting iTunes or any other place, like an actual record store-if they actually exist anymore. I wouldn’t know because the internet enables me to foster my borderline agoraphobia.
Speaking of using the internet, why not take a click on over to The Mercury Phoenix Trust where you can purchase cool merchandise or donate to help the fight against AIDS worldwide. I’m thinking of our next Freddie for a Day activity. This was last year’s.
I don’t understand why my wardrobe choice of today drew so much attention. As usual it was no more than a t-shirt and jeans, my typical hospital clothes. Okay, my typical all the time clothes.
It was my t-shirt that got so much attention. I don’t know why. I’ve worn it before at the hospital, and plenty of places. It’s nothing spectacular. Just a regular old band t-shirt.
The first person to take notice was the respiratory therapist, at six a.m. He said he liked the shirt and I said thanks. He then asked if I made the shirt, to which I replied no and explained Queen is a band, and he said he’d never heard of them. Okay, so, he’s younger than I am, and probably has different taste in music. Maybe he’s been on Mars for forty years. I don’t know.
Later after lunch I went to the front desk to order my dinner tray. An elderly volunteer working there remarks on the shirt.
Her: “Oh I just love that shirt. It’s so pretty.”
Me: “Thank you.”
Her: “That design is just beautiful.”
Me: “Yes.” Thinking Freddie would be pleased.
Her: “It looks like it’s right out of London. So majestic.”
Me: “They are British, a British rock band.”
Her: “A rock band?”
Me: “Yes a Seventies rock band.”
Her: “The Seventies?” Okay, she is rather elderly. Probably spent more time listening to Pat Boone than rock and roll in the Seventies.
Me: “Well, the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties. They put out music over that time.”
Her: “How did you keep it looking so new? It looks so new.”
Me: “. . . Um . . . it is new. Well, fairly new. A few months old.”
Her: “Oh.” Cue Edith Bunker impression. “Ohhhh.”
The first guy didn’t know Queen, and the elderly lady probably listened to Pat Boone while Queen was combining pseudo-opera and rock and she somehow thinks I kept a shirt looking new for longer than I’ve been alive, but at least the next person knew the band.
She was another respiratory therapist who is a little (lot) older than I am. Which she stated after she asked when I’d seen Queen, and I told her that I never did but wish I had and that I was only twelve when Freddie Mercury passed away. “Oh then you’re A LOT younger than me, then.” Then she asked, “Who gave you the shirt.” I hesitated, confused. “I bought it,” I said. “Oh, that’s good,” she replied. I supposed last time she bought a band t-shirt you had to actually be at the concert. I dunno. It’s called a catalogue people. But she said she thought the world lost a huge talent when Freddie died, and ain’t nobody can argue with that! Or at least I won’t. Of course the same lady asked where I’d found an app I have on the iPad for Doodles. “I went to the App Store . . . and searched for it,” I said. Did I mention she was a little (lot) older than me? Anyway, she’s OK in my book.
Since tonight is my night off from PICU duty, and the hubs is at the hospital, I’m staying at my mom’s apartment. She lives much closer than we do. As I was walking to her building, I passed a couple on a bench. We all greeted each other like good polite Southerners, then as I walked away, one of the two says, “I like that shirt.” I thank her over my shoulder and walk on wondering what the hell is so special about my shirt today.
I’m by no means a fashionista. I mean, I only wear clothes because it’s the law. All right. I’m kidding. Nobody wants to see this fat bottomed girl letting it all hang out. Smirk.