Life Rants

Things My Brain Has Decided Will Cure My Insomnia: Covid-19 Edition

There are few things I love more than sleep, especially in times of stress. My tired, worried brain is always on board for the moments during the day when it doesn’t have any connection to reality.

Of course, the times when I am most stressed (and handling things worst) are inevitably when my brain decides lying awake and worrying is the best way to cope.

Here are some irrational things my exhausted brain has tried to deal with sleepless nights–none of which have particularly worked. Perhaps, at the very least, these thoughts will leave you with the comfort that you’re not the only one with a strange, questionably functional mind.

Time travel sci-fi TV with an Occupy Wall Street theme

Promotional poster for the TV show Continuum shows a woman holding a small glowing sphere with a stormy cityscape behind her.
Image by Rwtia64 on Continuum Wiki

You know how certain shows seem to jump from one streaming service to another before suddenly disappearing altogether? I made the unfortunate discovery this fate had befallen the Canadian time travel show Continuum, which was so great and (like so much sci-fi) incredibly underrated. And, as stubborn insomniac brains are wont to do, my brain decided re-watching the show in the night’s wee hours was the only thing that would help me magically drift off to sleep–and, naturally, paid to stream all 4 seasons. Who could have guessed the explosions, terrorist plots, machine gun fire, and hostage situations happening regularly on the show wouldn’t be particularly conducive to a restful sleep?

New wave pop of the 1980s

A cassette tape rests on a bright pink and yellow background.
Image by Kevin Sanderson from Pixabay

Aztec Camera has been stuck in my head since “Somewhere in My Heart” was unexpectedly featured in the first film of Shark Month 2020, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. Since then, my brain has decided the soundtrack of 2:00 A.M. includes The Jam, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Eurythmics, Madness, and the Smiths (ugh Morrissey, I know). So perhaps not so much new wave as British artists with a lot of feelings and suspiciously upbeat rhythms masking angry social commentary?

Relaxation apps

Screenshot of the Calm app, showing the sleep story Blue Gold, narrated by Stephen Fry.

I’ve tried the free versions of both Calm and Headspace within the past month and realized how strange the world of relaxation/meditation apps truly is. Calm is oddly committed to celebrity performances, including Stephen Fry narrating a stroll through the lavender fields of Provence and John McEnroe reading the rules of tennis. It also features a playlist of rain falling on leaves that’s been curated by LeBron James? Whatever the fuck that means. Headspace has its share of surreal experiences too, such as a soothing visit to an antiques shop that is home to a dog who trusts you intrinsically.

Video game playthroughs

Cover of the PlayStation game Spyro the Dragon, featuring a small purple dragon posing confidently.
Image by Emmaboo60 on Spyro Wiki

Obviously it’s incredibly soothing to listen to the gentle sounds of fictional dragons burning other animals alive and occasionally pushing them from cliffs. Though, honestly, I’m talking about the late ’90s/early ’00s Spyro games for PS1, so there is actually an innocent charm to all of this. And if it makes you feel any better, the creatures in the original game were actually gems that had been transformed to give the illusion of being alive…or something like that. Also making my insomnia playlist are the choice-based games Life Is Strange and The Wolf Among Us, which both involve difficult ethical dilemmas with some terrible unintended consequences. Friends tell me there are also marble racing competitions and Tetris world championships available on YouTube.

Sleepytime tea

A tin of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime herb tea shows a bear in a nightgown sleeping on an armchair.
Image by Washthebowl on Flickr

Honestly, this is the biggest crock I’ve ever bought into, and I want to light the rest of the box on fire. Not only does this tea taste absolutely awful, but it also has zero effect on my ability to sleep. In fact, the only thing this tea is good for is making you get up to pee like 6 times in the night. Fuck the lying fucking bear on the box’s art who was probably already in hibernation mode before drinking this goddamn tea in the first place.

With all of this being said, I have to count myself lucky. Along with my friends and family, I’m in good health. And I have been able to continue working from home (knock on wood). I’m sure there’s part of my brain that knows this and is trying to do its bit by taking worrying into hyperdrive. So, on the one hand, you may say all I’m doing is needlessly losing sleep by sitting around and stressing about the state of the world. But to you I say I’m a goddamn hero right now, doing my part to prevent the spread of a deadly virus for which there is no cure.

And yeah, not sleeping.

How are you coping (and staying safe) during the novel coronavirus pandemic?

Cover photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Christmas Collab: Icetastrophe

Guys, I would never claim to be brilliant at the sciences, but there are moments of this feature in the Christmas Collab when I had to make a concerted effort to turn my brain off. Absolutely none of this film makes sense and it hurts.

But what of it? Just another day in Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015. This week was my pick, so I am entirely to blame.

The Film:

Icetastrophe; alternately, Christmas Icetastrophe

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A meteorite’s collision with Earth causes an…ICETASTROPHE.  In Canada?

The Uncondensed Version:

I picked this film based on title alone (sorry, Christa) without realizing half of the cast of Continuum is in this movie. Let’s not pretend that makes up for how terrible this film is, but damn…Carlos (Charlie in this feature) is a really good-looking dude. His love interest is Betty from Continuum, who is kind of obsessed with him in the show, and his son is Julian, who will become the mastermind behind an international terrorist organization by 2077.

A man with very well-groomed facial hair smiles.
Oh, Carlos. Is there a man in existence with more perfectly groomed facial hair?

BTW, there are some Continuum spoilers in this review, so you may want to stop reading if you plan to watch any or all eps of the show (if you have, PLEASE FREAK OUT WITH ME).

Everyone is basically playing the same role as in Continuum, except maybe Julian (though he does still like to blow things up in this film). He’s also in a really stupid forbidden romantic relationship that somehow still matters even amidst the, uh, icetastrophe. TBH, their families are probably just sick of how insufferable their relationship is—they’re 17(?) and they use the L word. Who does that???

Betty (Alex in this film, but I can’t not think of her as Betty), meanwhile, is a nerd working on her dissertation when she discovers a meteorite heading towards Earth. Her douchey male coworker says it’s probably nothing. Famous last words.

Outside a storefront, dead people are frozen in place by a sudden ice storm.
ICETASTROPHE.

So the meteorite hits the small town where Carlos and his son live, which causes everything to freeze immediately and exploding ice crystals to erupt from the ground (seriously). As it turns out, the meteorite split in half and changed colors, which means…Carlos and Betty have to find the two halves and put them back together?  What the actual fuck. I’ll be honest—I wasn’t paying the most attention ever to the plot of this godawful film.

I was trying really, REALLY hard not to over-analyze the science of this film, what with:

  1. The meteorite causing instantaneous freezing that everyone had to outrun
  2. Meteorite/ice storm causing a bizarre snow volcano/snow vortex
  3. Ice crystals exploding from within the Earth
  4. Dynamite being used to blow up the snow vortex?
  5. Each half of the meteorite having a different effect and balancing each other out

Two people look at a storm in the distance that features swirling clouds and snow explosions.
New meaning to the term “polar vortex.”

I KNOW it’s not supposed to make sense, but I needed it to have a teensy bit of logic. IT’S JUST WHO I AM.

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Scientific flaws aside, plot/characterization/special effects were all pretty terrible.

Plus all of these Continuum characters made me sad that Alec and Kira were absent and also drove home yet again that Carlos and Kira are never going to hook up.  And he didn’t even hook up with Betty either.

I’m sorry this is less of a review of Icetastrophe than me obsessing over Continuum. Whatever, it’s my blog and I’ll cry about Continuum if I want to.

BTW, there’s also a film called Snowmageddon, which is not available for streaming on Netflix. Sadly, that will not be Christa’s next pick unless the gods of Netflix love us (hate us?). The next best thing is to read her review of Icetastrophe here!

Good News Everyone

Feeling Good, or: Looking to the Future

This is possibly the first ever post that is solely about me and what’s going on in my life. I KNOW. ON MY OWN BLOG. Because I feel good (cue James Brown) and want you to know I haven’t utterly lost it and set my neighbor on fire. I think it’s important to feel what you feel, but I also don’t want to dwell on things forever. Plus I don’t want this to become Jillian’s Teen Angst Blog: Part Two (I apologize, internet, for Part One). I hope you realize that any foolish passion on my part is entirely over. I’m looking to the future. (Yes, that was a North & South reference, and I do not apologize. If I could, I would slowly put on a top hat and march away dramatically.)

Without any further nonsense, things I’m looking forward to in the near future:

  1. Most immediately, finishing off a loaf of banana bread I made last week. Apparently banana bread has only been a thing since the 1930s. Just 100 years ago it would have been possible for me to live in a banana bread-less world. Thank you to whatever coincidence of time, space, and invention prevented this from happening.
  2. I have three days off this week, and a mega stack of books and movies. Finally going to watch The Babadook.

    It's wrong to imply that I have a problem because that's clearly false.
    It’s wrong to imply that I have a problem because that’s clearly false.

    Also looking forward to reading The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, my impulse new book purchase. Honestly, I haven’t bought a new book in a really long time…I’m much too cheap to spend more than $1 or $2 on used books. It made me feel powerful and cool knowing I will read this book way before anyone can check it out from the library. And if I really wanted to, I could tear pages out of this book and scribble all over it and pour tea on it. It’s my right as a consumer. God, you guys. I feel I’m about to begin a retail therapy phase.

    That cover, though.
    That cover, though.
  3. Once they have aired their current seasons, I will be binge-watching Continuum and Masters of Sex. Seriously, if you watch either of these shows, let me know and I will talk (type?) your ear off. I don’t think any of my co-workers watch either show, and Masters of Sex is just really hard to casually mention in conversation. “So I was watching Masters of Sex the other day…Do you ever watch Masters of Sex? I find it really interesting to watch.” I wish Masters of Sex had a name that made me feel less like a complete perv. Stupid William Masters for having a name with so much potential for filthy puns.
  4. I have decided: vacation in Sept/Oct. I NEED IT.
  5. The second Diviners book, Lair of Dreams, will finally be published towards the end of the month. Libba Bray’s trilogy(?) follows Evie, a young woman with supernatural abilities, living in 1920s New York. Evie tries to solve a series of occultish murders with the help of her powers and some absolutely fantastic secondary characters. There’s also a really gross scene in a butcher shop in the first one. No one is as creepy as Libba Bray. NO ONE. I’ve been waiting three years for this one, and I’m so bad at waiting.
  6. I finally went bra shopping after putting it off for years. YEARS. I’m sure this is more than the world needs to know about me, but I HATE HATE HATE bra shopping, so I’ve been hoping for the best even as my bras are being killed off in And Then There Were None-style mayhem (spoiler: it was me. I killed them). Be proud: I braved Kohl’s, a store so vast and forbidding that you could get lost and no one would find you for days.
  7. I’ve started version 2.0 of Jillian’s Terrible, Soul-Crushing Job Search. I know that doesn’t really sound like the most fabulous thing to do, but I think it’s time. I like my jobs at the moment, but I’m extremely underemployed. Especially as I’ve been seeing some postings that actually sound interesting and might work out (maybe). I’m easing myself back into applying. Slowly, slowly.
  8. I’m really enjoying my new hobby of painting swear words on cheap ceramics.

    Much cheaper than therapy.
    Much cheaper than therapy.
  9. Also of note in a few short days: my mom bringing me a suitcase full of Tunnocks and tea. This is a thing that is happening, right, Mom? RIGHT???
  10. Rapidly approaching this blog’s first birthday! I’m trying to come up with something special to do in honor of it. I started blogging to keep myself busy, and it’s become such a meaningful, important part of my life where I’ve met some fantastic people. Looking at you especially, Christa and Hayley, but I hope all of you, readers, know how much I appreciate you. Yes, even you, random internet creep. You’re good for my stats.

Obviously I’m upset about my neighbor being a condescending asshole, but I’m tired of giving fuckheads undue influence over the way I think and feel. It sucks that I’m majorly underemployed and drowning in student loans, but that doesn’t mean I have to be miserable all of the time. Though it’s antithetical to everything about my nature, I’m attempting to go with the flow. My life isn’t what I want it to be, but there’s really a very limited value in obsessing over the way I think things should be, n’est-ce pas?

Since you have been so patiently bearing with me, what are you looking forward to, reader(s)?

Or feel free to bitch about things. Never let it be said that my blog isn’t somewhere people can go to bitch about their lives.