Scream dream

2017-Jul-31, Monday 10:12
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
It took me an hour and a half to fall asleep last night and then I had horrible dreams for most of the night, but it did lead me to empirical proof that sometimes movie cliches are real. In my dream I was exploring a run-down mansion or house, by myself, and at some point I went upstairs and saw someone else. Being a dream, I went over to talk to him and he turned around and had a fleshless skull for a face, much like the strange woman from the NES game Uninvited. He said something spooky, I screamed...and apparently screamed in real life as well, loud enough to wake up both [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and myself. Fortunately, she rolled over and went back to sleep, though it took me a while to fall back asleep and then I woke up before my alarm.

I did not suddenly start up in bed with a gasp, though I have done that when I lived in Ireland, when I dreamed about a zombie cat trying to tear off my face. Eventually I will combine these two stereotypical incidents and have a real picture-perfect horror movie waking up moment.

Part of the reason I had such a hard time getting to sleep is that I was worried something would go wrong at work today. So far, nothing has, and I even got all of my vacation I need to take before the end of the year approved. Hopefully the day remains uneventful!
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
It's probably not a good idea for me to read climate news right before bed.

I've since read some cogent critiques of the piece, pointing out its Eurocentrism and factual errors like the invocation of medieval stasis in the idea that for thousands of years, people would live mostly the same as their parents and grandparents did. This was the popular conception even at the time--see all those medieval paintings with Jesus and the disciples dressed like someone from medieval France--but it was never actually true. There were a lot of changes over that time, just none as visible from the modern age as the industrial or green revolutions.

There was also a good point about the wisdom of "The situation is bad and requires immediate action" vs. "Your descendants will ritually curse your names in the ruins of their ancestors' cities." The first is true, the second might be true, but encourages paralysis. If civilization is doomed, why bother trying to save it? Live in luxury now while it's still possible. Eat, drink, and be merry, etc. I'm definitely inclined more towards inevitable doom, but more in ScreamingInternally.jpg model than the conspicuous consumption model.

I could have written this last night around 1 a.m., but fortunately I've developed better bedtime discipline as I've gotten older and I just stayed in bed and kept trying to sleep.

I'm slowly making progress on re-linking all the photo embeds to their new hosting. I've done Darker than Black, all my video game reviews, and my Japan, Chicago, Translation, Warcraft, and Travel tags. Now I'm working on Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries and then I'll get to the RPGs tag and that'll probably be the vast majority of everything necessary. I'll catch the last few photos when I find them.

Tonight is the next session of Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom after a month hiatus due to conflicting schedules. We left off right before the protagonists and their hired mercenaries entered a cave system in pursuit of a group of necromancers. They've spent half-a-dozen sessions tracking down the source of the walking dead plague and following them to this cave system, and now the climactic battle happens against at least three necromancers and whatever else is down there. They're mostly uninjured but fatigued, having force-marched through the day to arrive before sundown, and while they have mounts the mercenaries were on foot. Who will win? This or that by brokenboulevard
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd doesn't like the dark. I do. That's the way of it. Left up to myself, I leave most if not all the lights in the apartment out, since the light filtering in from the alley outside through what few openings are left in the curtains we have up is enough for me to see by. Even at night, I usually don't bother to turn on the lights when I get up and move around. The apartment layout doesn't change, after all, and my night vision is pretty good. But sometimes, when I come home, the curtains are open and all the lights are on as [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd soaks up the light.  photo Dawn.png

The last couple nights, I've been reading a Let's Play of a Japanese RPG Maker game called Corpse Party. You can probably tell what kind of game it is from the title, and even though the links to the music and sound had vanished into the internet ether--sadly, since they're the highlight--I still found it creepy enough that before I went to sleep last night, I left the living room light on.

It would have made more sense when we lived in Japan, since we basically lived in a J-Horror house. We literally had an abandoned house right next to ours, plus another abandoned compound just down the street. We had steep stairs with no railing that a spirit could easily have pushed us to our deaths down.  photo japan001.gif But here, where three quarters of the apartment is always visible from any other point in it?

Well, it's the dark. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was worried that I would think less of her when she told me that she didn't like the dark, but I don't. The dark is scary! And who knows what could be out there. I can tell myself whatever I want, but my instincts are the instincts of a savannah-dwelling ape who stayed with the group or huddled by the fire and lived, while those who knew there was nothing out there were eaten by lions. So it took me a long time to fall asleep, and while I didn't have nightmares that I remember, I woke up an hour and a half before my alarm.

Maybe it's also that the game takes place in a school. I taught in a Japanese school, and I've been in other schools. They're all laid out pretty similarly, so it was easy for me to convert the minimal RPG Maker graphics in my mind into what a decayed, rotting school would actually look like. Maybe more effective than if the graphics had been more realistic.

Usually I'm fine in the dark, but it doesn't take much.
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
I didn't get to sleep until 1:30 or so last night despite going to bed at 11:15. Some of that is on me--I was up later than usual finishing up my Baldur's Gate II post and getting the last few steps in to make it to 10,000--but some of it is definitely due to our neighbors downstairs.

A while ago, they had a new baby. Back then they lived diagonally from us, but a month ago they switched apartments with the neighbors below us because, having a baby, they wanted the larger space on our side of the apartment building. Since then things have been noisier overall, but I've occasionally noticed that I can faintly hear the sound of the baby crying through the vents and last night it went on for hours. photo c9a2ed93dbfb11e324f5b3e281e5e1b2.gif Along with people talking, maybe the television, and some thumping sounds. And that kept me up far past my bedtime.

I'm really bad at sleeping in general. My insomnia has gotten better, but I still have a very hard time falling asleep if there's any light or noise around. Even the very quiet sounds I heard last night were enough to keep me awake.

And there's really no solution here. The most obvious advice is earplugs, but I tried that when I lived in Ireland--I had a roommate who snored like a buzzsaw--and while it did help me sleep, it also meant even odds of whether I would sleep through my alarm in the morning. I used Rain Rain with the sleep timer to try to drown out the noise, but I couldn't find a good medium between the app being so loud that it kept me awake itself and loud enough to drown out the baby's crying. I went through two entire 30-minute sleep timer cycles with no effect.

The downstairs neighbors told [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd that we should tell them if the sound was keeping us up, but why? I mean, babies cry. It's what they do. They don't need to be told that the noise is keeping people up, because it's keeping them up, and if they had a way of quieting their child down on command, they would already be using it so they could get more sleep.

That doesn't help me feel less tired today, though.  photo emot-11tea.gif

Jetlag recovery

2016-Aug-01, Monday 15:15
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
I almost slept through the night! Yesterday I was almost completely wiped out from about noon on, to the point that it felt like it did during the dark times in Japan when my sleep schedule was completely off-kilter. Now I feel okay after sleeping from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., with a brief bathroom break around 2:30. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is not quite so lucky, but at least is sleeping better now than she did last night. And she gets two weeks to recover before she has to go to work, too.

Going there was just being tired in the evening and going to bed early but not actually having disrupted sleep. Not the case coming back. I've always found going west easier than going east.

I'm also readjusting to a non-traveling diet. My meals in Japan were a lot more bread- and rice-based than my meals here, because that's what's available to travelers. That and pickles. I'm pretty sure the 2% body weight I lost in the few days since I got back is just my body purging itself of excess pickle salt. The first day I was back, even my usual miso soup and pickles at breakfast tasted a bit off to me, which was probably my body telling me that enough was quite enough, thank you. Today it tasted lovely again, so maybe drinking all those pots of tea helped.

If you're curious, jetlag in Japanese is 時差惚け (jisaboke, "Time difference stupidity"). Perfect.
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
The first weekend in December was the JLPT/日本語能力試験, which was filled with just as much bullshit as I expected it to be. [profile] schoolpsycherd and I took level 4, which we figured that living in Japan for three years would be able to prepare us for. And it...kind of was, in a sense. Our lack of formal schooling (well, mine, [profile] schoolpsycherd did take some classes at university) was a bit obvious. She thinks she passed, I think I failed, mainly because of the listening section. As part of the bullshit I mentioned, the listening section repeated absolutely nothing at all, requiring you to maintain laser-like focus for 35 minutes and preventing you from taking more than a few seconds to think about the answers. There was ample writing space provided, but I quickly learned that it was useless because if you took the time to use it you were already missing the next question (unfortunately, I learned this through experience). The rest of the test was also bullshit, but it's the bullshit inherent to language, like a bunch of words that have slight differences in meaning or all look the same, such as the difference between 料理, 科埋, 料埋, and 科理 (though that would be a better example if those were all real words, which they aren't. At least, not in Japanese. The first one is Japanese, the other three are Chinese).

We plan to take Level 3 next year whether we pass or fail this one. Even if I did fail, I was of an appropriate level where there wouldn't be much point in retaking it. That'll give me a year to study for the new level, too, which should hopefully be enough.

For Thanksgiving, [profile] schoolpsycherd and I took the train down to Kentucky to visit her family. We spent Thanksgiving Day with her father and his girlfriend, and the day after Thanksgiving with her mother and her fiance. Despite our initial misgivings, it actually went really well, and it gave me plenty of time to write (I think I banged out the last 7000 words of my NaNo while we were there). Both dinners were delicious. Dinner at her father's house was a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and her mother's fiance cooked a smaller one but made me a very rare filet mignon, which was incredibly tasty. Also, there were no awkward moments, shouting matches, or anything that we were worried about, though a big portion of that can probably trace back to her mother's refusal to enter her father's house, instead waiting for us out in the car. Still, it was what it was, and it worked out okay.

Last weekend, we went to visit [livejournal.com profile] melishus_b in Seattle! I had been to Seattle before, since my aunt and uncle live there, but [profile] schoolpsycherd had never been (except to the airport, which hardly counts), so we spent two days in Seattle, one day at [livejournal.com profile] melishus_b's house planning (and later throwing) a party, and then one day in the rainforest on the Olympian Peninsula. That last bit was probably my favorite, since I've never been to anything like it before. [profile] schoolpsycherd and I went to a tropical rainforest when we were in Singapore, but that's obvious not the same as a temperate one. Anyway, before we went to the rainforest we went to a little town called Poulsbo, which is the kind of place that the word "quaint" was invented to describe. Lots of little shops with tasty treats, including some of the best chocolate I've ever eaten, and some places where we stocked up on food before heading off to the rainforest. There's a ton of rainforest photos up on my Facebook.

In Seattle, we went to a little local bar the first night and did the tourist thing the second night, mostly around Pike's Market. We also went to the Museum of Glass on Saturday afternoon before the party. All in all, it was neat, and I'm looking forward to when [livejournal.com profile] melishus_b gets time off so we can show her around Chicago. (^_^)

And finally, something random, for those who've played Morrowind. The whole thing resolves around the Heart of Lorkhan--the disappearance of the Dwemer, Dagoth Ur's plans with Akulakhan, the Tribunal's power, the final battle takes place in the heart chamber, you spend a huge part of the game looking for the tools the Dwemer used to affect the heart, etc.

Now, listen to the Nerevar Rising, Morrowind's main theme. The theme that accompanies you throughout the entire game. Listen to the drums that kick in in the beginning and continue underneath the melody for the whole song.

What do they sound like?

(I <3 Elder Scrolls so much).

Well...I'm home.

2011-Aug-01, Monday 22:25
dorchadas: (In America)
Or am I? Do multiple places count as home? I know I had a tendency to use "home" to interchangeably refer to our house in Chiyoda and to Chicago, depending on the exact circumstances of the conversation. Home for different reasons, I guess.

I've had few moments of serious culture shock, but there have been a lot of little things. The way money looks. The trains into and out of Chicago (once every 2 hours? Seriously?). Women's fashion. People having different hair colors. And then, it's hard to tell how much is culture shock and how much is just the standard malaise you get when you move away from a place you've lived a while, leaving your friends and the places you love behind. It hasn't been as difficult to adjust, but the fact that I speak the language fluently here is probably a lot of the reason for that.

Waiting on news on an apartment. If we're turned down, it's back into the city to look again.
dorchadas: (Death Goth)
So, my brain had a pattern recognition error last night.

I went up to bed, replaced the towel on the drying rack with the new one (we can't leave the towels downstairs, because they get wetter during the day than leaving them there overnight will dry) and moved the other one to the other side, piling it on top the bar on the rack. I turned around to take my shirt off, and when I turned back, there was a girl standing there with her hair over her face, reaching out for me. I took a step backward and raised my hand to ward off whatever it was...and then my brain reprocessed its input and resolved the "girl" into the clothes hanging from the rack and a vaguely-head-and-hair-shaped towel on top.

Once my heart started beating correctly again, I was able to appreciate it as a neurological lesson, especially since it reconfigured itself from J-horror ghost to unwisely arranged clothing before my eyes. For a moment there, though, I thought I was doomed. :p
dorchadas: (That is not dead...)
But first, a poll!

[Poll #1678438]
It came to me in the shower. (^_^)'''

I think I eat too much. And not in the "I'm getting fat" sense, since while I did gain weight when I worked at Suzugamine, that was mostly attributed to stress and a sedentary lifestyle. I'm still pretty sedentary (more than I should be...), but all the stress weight is gone now. No, I think I eat too much because we spend a lot of money on snacks. One problem is that I eat way too fast, so I tend to eat more than I, strictly speaking, need to. The easily-implementable solution to that is to put the fork down every couple of bites to stretch things out and also to not let things go until I'm starving before I eat. I should also look into whether there's some vitamin or something I'm not getting enough of that's making me hungry.

I've been reading a manga called Addicted to Curry lately (in Japanese, 華麗なる食卓 karee naru shokutaku. Literally "The dinner table that becomes splendid," or more naturally, "The Splendid Table," but there's an obvious pun based on 華麗, which is pronounced exactly the same as カレー, the Japanese word for curry). It doesn't have an amazing plot (high school girl and young curry-obsessed chef try to save the girl's father's curry restaurant, and while the art is pretty good, the real reason I read it is because it's about curry. (^_^)''' I always answer "curry" whenever anyone asks those, "If you could only have one food for the rest of your life..." questions, and nearly every volume has a curry recipe in it. We haven't gotten a chance to make too many of them because it's hard to get ingredients for non-Japanese curry here, but I'm saving them for when we get back to America or whenever we go into Hiroshima and have a chance to pick up more ingredients.

I've been studying kanji for a while today. It gets pretty frustrating, but I try to remind myself that, for example, I can look at through, rough, though, aghast, light, cough, draught and ugh and instantly know how to pronounce the 'gh' in each of them. There are times in learning where there are no tricks or shortcuts and you just have to memorize a ton of things. This is one of them.

We had Chiharu (one of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's fellow teachers, but younger than her) over for dinner last night. Last time we had Mexican food (which she had never had. That's completely outside my experience, but I suppose Japan has fewer Mexican immigrants than America  photo emot-3.gif), and this time was Italian, mostly prepared by [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd--I did the salad and bread pre-meal course, she did the pizza and pasta. Chiharu had never had olive oil with bread before. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised--bread as a cultural concept in Japan is a lot different than in America, being mostly composed of dessert breads, breads with filling, and so on--but it still caught me a bit off guard. Then again, I suppose people are going to be really surprised when we have gari as a side with our meals in America and eat a ton of stuff with chopsticks. :p

One random thing is that I really wish I had Chiharu's courage for speaking English. She doesn't speak it that well (for an English teacher--her English is far better than my Japanese), but when she comes over she brings a notebook so she can write down anything we say that she didn't previously know, and unlike my students used to, she writes it in English without trying to put in furigana for pronunciation. If we define something using Japanese, she writes the Japanese, but that's only natural, really. I have been studying a lot lately (at least an hour a day, usually more, not counting any time I spend out and about talking to actual people or reading signs), but I need to really buckle down if I ever want to learn it to conversational level.

Another sleepless night...I guess I'll try to nap when Rachel wakes up.
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I've never had a very good relationship with sleep. When I was a young child, it would often take me an hour and a half to two hours to fall asleep. I would tell myself stories while I tried to fall asleep, continuing each night where I left off the previous night. It was a massive, sprawling sci-fi epic, though the only thing I remember about it now is that one of the characters was named Persia and was actually an android, and the ship was moon-sized. I didn't realize at the time, of course, that all that extra thinking was just keeping my brain active and preventing me from falling asleep.

When I got to high school, my bad habits continued. I'd go to bed at roughly 10:30 or 11, read for half an hour to 45 minutes and then finally fall asleep another 45 minutes after that to wake up at 6:30 the next morning. On weekends I'd stay up later and wake at 11 a.m., in a (probably futile) attempt to catch up on sleep.

In college, I lived mostly nocturnally. Every year my classes got later and later until senior year I had no classes at all before noon and none on Friday. On days without classes, I'd go to bed at dawn and sleep until 2:30 to 3 p.m. I tended to wake up 2 or 3 times before finally waking up for good, though, and wasn't usually very well rested.

The reason I'd stay up so late is in an attempt to make myself tired enough to crash, and thus, skip the usual 45 minute or more period while I waited for my mind to wind down so I could finally sleep. I still do that, in the absence of anything requiring me to go to bed at an earlier time, so that my schedule tends to shift later and later over time.

The best sleep I ever got, actually, was when I was working the night shift. I'd go to bed at 7 or 8 a.m., wake up at 2:30 or 3 p.m., fell asleep within half an hour, and I was never tired. I'm not sure what lesson to pull from that, since maintaining a similar sleep schedule is one of the major ways to get to sleep easier but comparing night shift schedule to other consistent sleep schedules leads to different results. The main thing I can think of is that my job was right before I went to bed rather than right after I woke up, meaning I never used an alarm.

If a treatment came out that meant you never had to sleep again, I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

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