Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seriously MI-5?!?!

Good ol' Netflix suggested MI-5 to me, and since I'm going to London soon (have I really not posted about that?) I decided to give the BBC show a go.

I don't have the most discerning taste in entertainment- as in I don't usually care about the plot holes or blatantly repeated themes in shows. I mean, the more I watch a show the more I pick up on them but they don't usually bother me and/or make me stop watching the show-which is still half true in this case.

Basically it's your run-of-the-mill spy show- a five-ish person team made up of the boss, a couple of actual field operatives, a tech guy or two and a person who does the behind-the-scenes deep research are all working together to keep Britain safe.

Spoiler Alert
So, if you ever plan to watch the show or just don't want to know a huge plot point for it, don't continue reading.

They kill everyone off- seriously. No, seriously; and not just the red shirts (which is kinda what we've all come to expect). I'm in Volume (Season) 8, episode 4 (thank goodness there are only 12 episodes left) and they have killed off in one way or another at least 15 main characters. Some of these have actually died-been shot and whatnot-but a few of them have retired, burned out, gone rogue, or have been outed by a conspiracy and basically burned by their own government. The only original person from the first episode is the main boss guy- who is okay, I guess, but not really who I would've chosen as the sole survivor for eight seasons.

I mean, I get that spying is hard- people die and get burned out every day and there's high turnover. But how in the heck are you supposed to connect with a show if they keep changing the dad-gum characters seriously every episode? Especially when you just get used to the new main character and then he gets killed off and you're left with a chick you hate who the writers suddenly try to make likable.

I feel bad for the guys who have to make the title sequence- although it's more revealing for who's dead and who's alive than any other show I've ever watched. Just a side note about that- they tried to change the name of the show about Volume 4 to Spooks before they thankfully realized that that at least was just too far.

It does change things as far as suspense goes-truly wondering if the heroes really are going to live or die. However, it brings things to the other end of the scale to where, instead of saying: "They can't die. They're a main character" to "They'll probably die. They're a main character". It's an odd paradox- one I'm glad I'm almost done with in another 12 episodes.

Why am I finishing it? Because I've come this far and although I'm not really invested in the people per say- because they've pretty much all left- I have this strange compulsion to finish the show.

So maybe they know what they're doing after all?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I need a vacation...companion?

Even though my 5th grade teacher told me at my brother's wedding reception in December that I need to do more writing it took until today to actually write another post. This is probably mostly because I just got a subscription to Netflix...like two months ago. And I haven't written a blog post in like 8 months...I'll possibly do the calculations to what stopped me 8 months ago and let you all know what I discover. Or probably not, honestly. Thanks for reading this post anyway.

So I've been at my job a year now and lately I've been thinking about going on a hardcore vacation- I mean like a week or two to Florida or a cruise or to Europe or SOMEthing.

Can I just say that it's really hard to do when you're single and don't have a go-to person for vacations? I mean, there are people who you would love to go on vacation with, but they're too poor or don't have any time or have children or school. And you can't really pull them into it with the "You're married to me and we're going" phrase.

Especially when the person who would most likely go with you started doing pre-reqs for her master's program in January just as you started considering taking a vacation, meaning you can't go if it's during the days she has classes. And now she's poorer than she was before because she has to pay tuition and such. Sigh.

And then, of course, there has to be crazy staff changes at work, leaving you the only veteran to take the front lines for getting everything done and your boss gets crazy eyes when you ask her if you can take a week off. Or any time right now, for that matter.

Now, I know some of you independent types are saying, "Well, why don't you just go by yourself? You can do it!" To that I say: I definitely could but that's not a vacation for me. I don't want to go somewhere just to go somewhere-to explore something by myself. I want to be able to share it with someone- to talk about it- to experience it with another person.

Bottom line is I'm going to have to push my burned-out mind a little further- until we can get new people sufficiently trained and I can either find someone to go with me or just brave it and go by myself.

Or maybe become a traveling companion like Jo is in Little Women to her aunt. And then when she dies she'll leave me her giant house and I can turn it into a school with my German professor husband.

I need a vacation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hercules and middle school

It's kinda hard to blog when you work somewhere that you don't feel right divulging stuff that happens at work to the whole wide internets. Especially with HIPAA moles everywhere...probably reading this blog post right now, wondering how I'm violating patient health information...Well I'm not! Back off Big Health Brother!

Anyway, without work that leaves...about sixish hours of the rest of my day to make things happen that are blog-worthy. And then I just give up. It's at that point ideas come to me. Mostly ridiculous ideas- the way I like 'em.

I walk about 15 minutes from the Trax station to my actual work- mostly that time consists of me and my thoughts-and reminding myself to not say these thoughts out loud and look like more of a crazy person than I am.

Hercules was on the brain this morning, and I was thinking of that song at the almost beginning of the movie- Go the Distance. Let's sing it together- either in our heads or out loud for people around us to enjoy...and a one, and a two...

"I have often dreamed
Of a far off place
Where a hero's welcome
Would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face
And a voice keeps saying
This is where I'm meant to be"

This is the theme song of every middle schooler in the entire world.

And it only gets better as we move on to subsequent verses if you think of it that way.

"I'll be there someday
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere(insert here "do most anything")
To feel like I belong"

"Down an unknown road
To embrace my fate
Though the road may wander
It will lead me to you
And a thousand years
Would be worth the wait
It may take a lifetime
But somehow I'll see it through"

Sometimes middle school feels like wandering down an unknown road for 1,000 years.

"And I won't look back(to elementary school)
I can go the distance
And I'll stay on track(to actually get out of middle school and graduate high school)
No I won't accept defeat
It's an uphill slope
But I won't lose hope
Till I go the distance
And my journey is complete"

Yeah- you'll never think of it in the same way again either. Also, I was wondering if we as people get into this mode- the grass-is-greener mode. Think about that. And maybe laugh a little as you reminisce about middle school- I know I did.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

10 Things I've Learned About Public Transportation

10. Settle in. Even if everything is on time, you're still going to be 3X longer than it would take, even in rush hour traffic in a car.

9. Bring a book. If you don't have a book, or forgot yours, it's sometimes necessary to buy/play mindless phone games. I recommend Bejeweled.

8. I would highly recommend bringing snacks- when you're pretty much traveling for 3 hours of your day, you get hungry. Also, it's entertaining to watch other people try to watch you unobtrusively as you eat cottage cheese and pineapple- from a cottage cheese container.

7. There are weirdos everywhere, but they seem to congregate in public transportation. Some of my favorites were the guy who said he didn't believe in owning a car because he was sticking it to the man, and the guy who said everyone who is thinking about getting married should get divorced first. What he actually meant is they should look at what goes into the divorce process before getting married, but it was still funny to me.

6. The train will always win. It's terrifying, really, what people will do, even when a four-car light-rail is involved. Especially one that can't stop, even with slamming on the brakes and throwing down sand to stop as fast as possible. Takes at least a good 100 yards or so, depending on what speed it's up to.

5. Every day is a gamble time-wise. I mean, it's always a gamble with any transportation, really, but when you have so many more factors than just your car that you're actually traveling in, it gets interesting. Is the bus driver going to wait for me? Will the train be early or late?

4. Along with that last one, I depend on myself as a part of my transportation a lot more than I do some forms. I walk to and from the station, for instance, because the shuttles are the craziest gamble of all. I'd rather take 5 more minutes and know when I'll be there than possibly be 5 minutes earlier, but probably not.

3. It's okay to say no- especially when a person is creeping you out. I felt bad when a guy hit on me and so I didn't tell him to buzz off. But I was uncomfortable, and he doesn't have that right to do that to me.

2. Making friends is the best way to stay sane and not get hit on by creepy strangers. Or, when you do, you have an easier out. My ride friend is named Summer and I like her a lot. :)

1. It's nice to not have to pay for transportation. Or drive myself an hour every day. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Amy Gets a CPAP Machine

Well, it's been a good two months since I've blogged yet again - I think it's time to rename it "Once a Month Blog" or "Just When Amy Feels Like Writing So Don't Get Your Hopes Up For Frequent Updates".

So, I promised to write about the results of my sleep study - the CPAP-ness and such. It was kind of sad what ended up happening; I got my results and talked to my doctor and I woke up 34 times during the sleep test. 34. And I never even GOT below stage 3 sleep. Ridiculous.

As you can guess, that meant it was time to get a CPAP machine. I got mine from Praxair - a home medical supply place. It's a rent to own type deal with our insurance, so I pretty much got my own unit right off. I met my Praxair representative, who explained how to use my CPAP machine and such, and then proceeded to do a mask fitting to see which one would work best. I ended up going home with this new gel-type one and was pretty happy with it, from what I could tell.

Man was it a whole different world when I tried to use it.

I'm going to ask you to imagine with me again - are you with me yet? Okay, so imagine you're putting on a snorkel mask, but just the nose part. It is literally eating your face and feels HUGE. It presses against your upper lip area because you're wearing a mouth guard because you not only have a blocked airway in your sleep, you grind your teeth. As if one sleep problem wasn't enough.

A snorkel mask is a pretty good comparison not only because of where it sits, but if you have a humidifier attached to your CPAP machine and have it set too high, it feels like you're drowning. If you have it set too low, though, it congests you like crazy.

Also, getting situated is a bit ridiculous - mostly because the hose pushes into the edge of your pillow, pushing the mask into your face. They actually have CPAP pillows that have a hole cut out of the side right where the hose sits, so you don't have that problem. I'm thinking I'm just going to cut a hole out of my pillow. I'll let you know how that one goes.

The best part about a CPAP mask is that you have to get it at just the right pressure - if it's too loose, it leaks and you don't have the right pressure for it to work. If it's too tight, it feels like you're losing all circulation to your face. Yes, that's totally sarcasm.

Okay, so after a week or so of using the new gel mask it was driving me crazy, so I went in and got it switched out for a smaller, older model. The problem with the fitting concept is that the situation of sitting in a chair, testing out masks is not true to how you're actually going to use it; unless people sleep sitting completely upright, which I guess my friend's mom does sometimes (with her CPAP- and now I understand why).

I want to try the nose and mouth covering masks, but the 30-day trial period is up and the insurance won't let me get a new mask for 2 more months. In the meantime, I'm trying to get comfortable in my bed and after an hour I pretty much end up tearing it off in frustration and getting the sleep I can with it off. Why did it work just fine for a month or so and now I can't sleep with it on? I have no idea.

Picture with me wearing the CPAP to come...if I don't destroy it first.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Amy Does a Sleep Study

I was thinking about all the books we read to kids to introduce them to things like Kindergarten and the doctor's office and the dentist. Mostly I remember Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books that told me about his adventures getting a new sibling or being babysat.

Before I went to a sleep clinic to get a sleep study, I thought, "This would be a perfect kids' book. Except that kids don't do sleep studies, really. (Although I learned later, looking up pictures for this post that kids DO do sleep studies. This would be an awesome children's book!) But I'm kind of anxious to see what's going to happen and wish this was a topic covered in those Little Critter books."

So I'm now going to share with you my experience, because I've always wondered what it would be like.

I came through the door about 8:45 p.m. or so, showed them my copious amounts of paperwork (that's covered in Amy Prepares for a Sleep Study. It's five volumes.), my insurance card and my driver's license. I paid my copay, which was ridiculously low compared to some people's - yes, I peeked at the check-in list - and then the tech walked me back to my room.

It was kind of like a hotel room, except there weren't any windows, and the bathroom was a lot bigger than any I'd ever seen at a hotel/motel. Oh, and there was a camera and microphone. I sat down on the bed, took the pre-study questionnaire (Have you had any caffeine today? Was your day especially stressful? Did you take any naps?) filled out the waiver form (saying things like "You can't sue us for the water-soluble glue we're going to be putting in your hair") and got ready for bed.

I left my door open, as instructed, and was greeted by the tech a few minutes later. In between this I read my scriptures, some of my book and watched a little Castle. She came in to put all the sensors and wires on me that would monitor my sleep.

I want you to imagine a robot.

Now, I want you to imagine opening up that robot. Just slitting him open like a tin can - see all those wires?

Now pull them out of the robot and attach them to various parts of a human.

I seriously had at LEAST 50 wires, coming out of places like my shins to monitor leg movement; my head to monitor brain waves, eye movement and jaw clenching; and my chest to monitor my heart rate. Now, add two straps (like belts, only made of nylon with those snaps you have on a fanny pack) to my chest and stomach to monitor breathing. A pulse monitor went on my finger, as well.

Also, there was this oxygen-tube-like thing that went into my nose to let them know if my breath was coming from my nose or mouth. Except it was pointy. And in my nose all night long. Along with having that, one of the best parts was having my head marked on with pen to see where the head sensors were going to go - she was not all that gentle with her marking and I think I still have the grooves embedded in my skull.

Then it was time for the mask fitting, in case they decided my oxygen levels were too low and I needed to use a CPAP machine to get into deeper sleep. That wasn't too bad, actually. Except for the fact that I had to put it on over all my other crap.

After this arduous task of 45 minutes, she asked if I was ready for bed. I was getting sleepy, and although it usually took me a good hour or two to get to sleep (even with working out and not taking any naps and such) and I hadn't been that early to bed in a long while (it was 10), I decided that that's what I was there for and said sure.

Before we could say goodnight, my tech had to make sure all of the monitors were working, so she had me lie on my back, then had me look to the right and left with my eyes, sit up, stick my tongue out, make three loud snoring noises, and various other exercises I don't remember. Then she told me I could get into any position I wanted and go to sleep.

Oh, yeah. Like that was going to happen.

You know how dogs look on a leash, tied up in the front yard? That's how I felt. I felt compassion for those dogs. And leash kids.

I'm a tosser at night, so every time I would turn over in bed the straps would get stuck on my pajamas and I'd have to figure out how to pull my pajamas straight without moving the straps. The pulse sensor finger thingie was also a problem. It seemed the wire was just barely too short to reach positions I wanted to be in. Oh the cruelty.

Also, it was a balmy 65 degrees in the room - freezing, even in my nice thick jammies. My tech gave me one tiny blanket and told me if I needed more to knock on the headboard. Odd instructions, but I guess they could hear me and help me that way. By the end of the first hour or so (although I had no concept of time because they didn't have kind of night-vision clock in the room) I was turning into an icicle and after hemming and hawing a bit in my mind, I knocked on my headboard. My new tech opened the door and asked what I needed. I said a blanket, and I was going to ask for my socks in my backpack at the foot of the bed, but figured the extra blanket would help.

Not so- my feet were still freezing a good 20 minutes later.

Not wanting to bother my tech again, I thought that even with all my wires, I could probably reach my backpack and get my socks without bothering him. I guess I forgot he was watching my every move - he came in about 30 seconds after I got out of bed, asking if I needed any help, since he'd seen me sit up. I was stretched out like a dog at the end of his rope, performing a probably humorous ballet, straining to reach my backpack and the coveted socks. He chuckled a little, put the bag on my bed, and left again, saying that he was just outside if I needed anything else.

I was glad I didn't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I feel bad for people with bladder problems who have sleep studies.

About 30 minutes after I fell asleep, to my reckoning (my results said later I woke up 34 times), my tech was there, waking me up with all the cheeriness of a morning person. I groggily said good morning, happily was liberated from my wires (that dang nose sensor went first!) and was instructed to get ready for my day - the glue they used on my sensors was water soluble, after all, so I could take a shower to get rid of it - fill out a morning questionnaire, and have a complimentary breakfast at Kneader's.

It took a good 20 minutes to get all of the glue out of my hair alone, all the while trying to stay in the warm spray of the shower, considering the room and bathroom were still FREEZING. Even so, I was falling asleep.

I braided my hair, packed up my belongings, finished the questionnaire and was out of there. Although I rather horribilize it here, it wasn't so bad.

Especially since I got to go home and sleep a good eight hours.

Coming up next time: Amy Gets Her Sleep Study Results and Amy Gets a New CPAP Machine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My hat's off to you, William Goldman

So, I just finished reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It's been one of my goals to read some of the classics that I've somehow missed over my past 23 years.

Might I just say - hilarious and fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I LOVED the pretending to skip over satirical, long, dull parts about the royalty picking their clothes and packing them and such, which was supposed to signify how ridiculous the upper classes are, but really would just be boring. Also, those chapters never actually existed, since the "original" book was by William Goldman. The whole facade was genius - I don't know if I could cut my writing enough to do that. Also, it's a story within a story - with enough detail to make your head spin.

However, even though it was fake, it made me think of some other books that would be thoroughly awesome if the boring parts were chopped out of them. Here is my list of ones that come to mind:

Crime and Punishment - really? It took her 10 pages to walk down the stairs?

Grapes of Wrath - I don't care if those intercaloric chapters had a deeper meaning, and the tortoise trying to get across the road signified the people struggling in his story - they were boring and unnecessary, in my opinion. I also don't believe that is a correct interpretation. Steinbeck was padding his novel for all he was worth, making the masses think his third-grade story about his pet was really deeply significant. Yeah, yeah, I might still be bitter for having to read it in 11th grade - if you have read it, you understand. Also, if you cut out those chapters, you lose nothing of the story. Maybe you lose the artistic depth, but that's it. Maybe.

Persuasion - now, I'm not dissing Jane Austen at all. All I'm saying is that there were some parts in this book that were snooze-fests. Cut out all the family tree stuff, please! We don't really need to know the history of the family to understand the idea that the father stunk and pedigree mattered to him. Besides that, I heart this book.

Now that I've thoroughly alienated the entire English academic community, I'll move on.

Actually, I lied. I want to talk about the movie The Princess Bride first.

I love when writers take actual dialogue from the book to use in the movie. If the author has a great line in there, why not use it? Thank you, William Goldman, for doing just that. Bless you. It was so fun to hear lines from the movie that I'd read in the book. The casting was also fabulous. Lots of no-name actors, except Mandy Patinkin - Becca has informed me, but marvelous acting nonetheless. Might I say near-perfect matching of the characters in the book to the movie? I just did.

Other random thoughts I'd like to share:

I made a thumb cake for Becca's birthday, like the one in an episode of the TV show Glee. It was mostly thought up by my mom, but mostly executed by me. I'll post a pic of it on here when I find the camera.

Micah is still hilarious. Lately, he's had a sarcastic laugh that I blame Calvin and Hobbes for: the classic "Har har". I can't help but laugh when he whips that one out. Also, he's let us know that the first commandment is not actually love God like you all thought, but, and I quote, "Have babies." Wow. Thanks Micah, for that information.

I'm actually kind of getting into a video game. I know! Hang me now. But I started playing around with Boom Blox, and although I've mostly given up on some parts, there are levels I've tried a good 20 times to do well in. I can't believe it, but it's true.

I still love Harry Potter. I used to read them all in order right before J.K. would put out another one, and now that I've missed a few summers, I've found they're still just as enjoyable.