I used to die every night.

About a year ago, I was suffering from severe sleep apnea. I’ve always snored, but it got to a point where I was just not sleeping. (Rather than go into it, you can read all about that here.)

I realize that I never posted the results of my sleep study, and they are pretty jacked. And since I’m sure you all have been waiting on pins and needles for them, here you go.

Generally with a sleep study, you are supposed to have spend the night two nights at the center doing the study. The first night the determine why you aren’t sleeping (apnea, shaky leg, whatever) and the second night they apply the fix and see if it works. They hook you up to kinds of electrodes and what not and you go to bed and someone watches you on a video to make sure everything is going smoothly. They encourage you to bring whatever you use to sleep (favorite pillow, pajamas, whatever) to make it as natural as possible. This makes sense, as they are putting all these wires and shit on you, it makes it difficult to move around naturally.

I don’t have anything ‘favorite’ I use to sleep, but I did bring my…sleep aids. Before I got hooked up, I took my medication that helps me sleep, put on my sweats, and got ready for what I thought would be another restless night. The woman who hooked me up was pretty awesome, and before long I was laying down.

At some point in the night, the lady was waking me up. I asked what was wrong and she said, “You need to put this on right now.” She looked extremely concerned, holding a mask in her hand. She helped me hook it over my face and a turned on the machine it was attached to, which forced air into my fat face. As I was thinking there was no way I could go to sleep like this, I slipped under and got the best night of sleep in recent memory. I mean, I was knocked the fuck out hard. Before I knew it, the woman was waking me up and I was rested. RESTED! I didn’t even know what that felt like anymore.

She asked how I slept. I told her I couldn’t remember sleeping so well. She said she didn’t doubt it. My apnea was bad. I had stopped breathing for 57 seconds. That’s why she woke me for the mask. I didn’t need a second night, they knew exactly what was wrong.

A few days later, I got my results. I’ll put it down as it was explained to me.

For someone to have sleep apnea, there must be at least a 10 second pause in breathing during sleep. 1 – 5 per hour is average. 30 an hour is severe. I was popping 108 an hour. One. Hundred. Eight.

The oxygen you are receiving should be at 90%. I went down to 50%. And the 57 seconds without breathing didn’t help.

Since then, I’ve been using a CPAP machine every night. I’ve changed masks a few times, from one that completely covers my nose and mouth to the one I wear now, which goes just under my nose. I use this sweet Bluetooth app that talks to my CPAP machine and gives me info on my breathing pauses and mask fit and such. I’m now down to maybe one or two breathing pauses (AHI) an hour now, rarely more than three. I’m sleeping through the night, and waking up more-or-less refreshed (this is my fault, though, I go to bed too late and don’t get the 8 hours I should be getting).

At the risk of being melodramatic, this study and machine has not only changed but possibly saved my life as well. I was literally falling asleep driving, waking up on the rumble strips. Since getting the machine, the only place I fall asleep is on the metro.

If you know someone who snores, encourage them to get a sleep study. They are simply not getting the rest they need, there’s no two ways about it. And if you use a Philips CPAP machine, I highly recommend the Dreamweaver app that goes along with them. You can monitor what’s going on while you sleep and make the necessary adjustments to sleep even better.

Here’s one of my favorite songs of all time:

At least there was Hysteria.

This past Tuesday, three Blu-rays came out that I had to have; fortunately their MSRP was set at a very reasonable price. So reasonable, in fact, that FYE of all places had them going for $9.99 a piece…cheaper than Amazon, even!

Word on the interwebs was that FYE busted street date on at least on of these films, so on Sunday I drove to the closest one to see what’s what. While they didn’t have the the one I had read about (I’ll get to it, dammit!), they did have another of the three: Cat’s Eye. I immediately purchased it, along with Twilight Zone: The Movie (which was a goddamn STEAL at $5. This damn thing is going for $40 for some ungodly reason.).

I wasn’t upset I struck out on the other two, it was Sunday after all.

On Tuesday night, I headed back to FYE after work to get the remaining Blu-rays. Unfortunately, they only had one, Stephen King’s IT. They had already sold out of the copy of Salem’s Lot. The. Copy. Let’s see, a classic TV mini-series based on a Stephen King novel hits Blu-ray for the first time a month before Hallofuckingween, and you get…one copy. WAY TO PLAN AHEAD, JERKS.

That’s okay, I didn’t sweat it too much. There are other FYEs around. I would hit them up this weekend, and that’s what I did today. The first one I went to, the employee was pretty damn helpful, checking the back and a few different places on the floor because he knew it had come in, but they must have sold it. Jesus, another store that only had one copy. Okay…fine. I had one more shot. I drove up to the final FYE near me. I looked around the store, couldn’t find it, asked the employee, to which he said, “Oh, sorry, I sold my only copy yesterday.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? ONE COPY? Goddammit.

As I was heading out, a stack of CDs caught my eye, with the sign shouting $10 and under!!! Normally I would have kept going because who even buys CDs still, but one caught my eye: Def Leppard’s Hysteria. For $5. Since Spotify doesn’t stream Def Leppard and Hysteria is one of my top three albums of all time, I went ahead and bought it. One, to keep in my car, because I can listen to that ANY TIME, and also to not make the entire trip a bust.

Honestly, though, I don’t understand how FYE stays in business at this point. Their prices are either rape high or losing-a-profit low, with no in between. Plus the way they organize their movies is dog shit. It’s all very haphazard. The employees are friendly, though. At least the three I went to, they seemed genuinely eager to help. But the crap selection and sky high prices are unforgivable.

I also went to Best Buy and Barnes & Noble today. That rant is coming tomorrow. Or rather today since it’s 1:30 in the morning.

Might be something, might be nothing. Probably something. Or nothing.

I’m not the type to believe in ghosts. I mean, I do believe in ghosts, but I think that 99.99% of sightings or whatever can be explained away scientifically. It’s that .01% that makes you go hmmmmm. Like that time I was traversing near a graveyard.

Many moons ago, like at least 20 years, I was dating this girl who had a friend that lived near an old ass cemetery. Apparently, this was one of those family-type deals, so it wasn’t very big, but it had graves going back to the Civil War. Rumor had it, there were some slaves buried on that land too, but unmarked of course.

So, naturally, me, my lady-at-the-time, her friend and her friend’s boyfriend decided to go check out this graveyard in the middle of the night. Because that’s what you do. Of course we only brought one flashlight (because that’s what you do) and soon after arriving at the cemetery, I gave that up to my girlfriend. Off her and her friend went, exploring and reading the headstones, while Chris (I don’t know if that was his name, but for simplicity’s sake, it is now) and I hung back and chatted and smoked.

Eventually we realized we no longer heard the girls, so we walked out onto the street and saw that they were about 1/2 mile off, already heading home. We shook our heads and started after them.

Now, before I get into this next part, I want to elaborate on two things. First, we weren’t…scared I guess. The thought of any ghosts or anything like that never crossed our mind. We had spent most of the time bullshitting about movies and such, so we weren’t even creeped out about anything. Second, it’s important to describe the layout. Basically, you had woods, cemetery, small strip of woods, then the road that runs parallel. Below is a half-ass diagram of the layout.


MAIN HIGHWAY


LOTS OF WOODS BUT NOT ENOUGH SO YOU CAN’T HERE THE MAIN HIGHWAY


CEMETERY

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________    ENTRANCE         _________

SMALL STRIP OF WOODS (MAYBE 10′) BETWEEN ROAD AND CEMETERY

______________________________________________________________________________________________________   ENTRANCE         _________

LITTLE RESIDENTIAL ROAD MY GF’S FRIEND LIVED ON

<— we were headed thataway

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So Chris and I exited where that entrance is. So we had maybe 1/4 of a mile or so to walk until we were passed the cemetery. That strip of woods between the residential road and the cemetery might have been about 10 feet wide, but it wasn’t dense, you could kind of see the graveyard from the road through those “woods”, even at night. But, again, we weren’t scared, freaked out, or creeped out. We were just heading back to the house like it was normal.

Almost immediately after we got on the residential road and started walking back to the house, I heard the crunch, crunch, crunch of someone or something (don don donnnnnnnnnnn) pacing us in that strip of woods on our right. I stopped, and Chris stopped with me. “You hear that too?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

We both peered into the woods, but saw nothing. Just the graveyard through the brush.

We started walking again.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

We stopped again. Looked at each other, looked at the woods. Saw nothing. Not even an animal.

Walk. Walk. Walk.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Stop. Look. Nothing.

By about the third time we stopped, I’m not even going to lie, I was nervous. I’m the first to admit, it could have been an animal. But we couldn’t see anythign. It definitely wasn’t our girlfriends. We could see them at the end of the street where the light was (NATURALLY). And if it was a person, we definitely would have seen them. The woods weren’t dense.

Walk. Walk. Walk.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

This time we stopped and didn’t look in the woods. We looked at each other and knew what we had to do. RUN!

We ran, the thing (or whatver) crunching along at the same pace as us, stopping when it reached the end of the cemetery line.

We got back to the girls, out of breath and shakey. They asked why we ran, and again we looked at each other. “No reason,” I said. “Just wanted to catch up with you guys,” Chris offered. The girls looked at us weird but left it at that.

Chris and I never talked about it, and I lost track of him after my girlfriend and I broke up.

I don’t know what was pacing us in the woods that night. I know it wasn’t the wind because there wasn’t any. I’m confident it wasn’t a (live) person because we would have definitely seen them, even withot the flashlight. If it were a (small) animal, maybe I’d buy it. But if it were something else…I don’t know. I’d probably believe it. No matter what, though, it was creepy as hell.

Time enough at last.

I’m really, really trying to do at least one update a month, and clearly I’m really, really failing. What’s even worse is I’m currently on vacation, so it’s not like I don’t have time right now.

Anywho, if it wasn’t obvious or if I never mentioned it, I love to read. I have more books than I know what to do with (and I’m actually in the process of giving (literal) boxes of them to friends of ones that I just know I won’t go back to, or I have it in the eBook format. Like stuff you’d find on the NY Times bestselling list; Harry Potter, John Grisham, just shit I don’t need on my bookshelves. I really just want harder-to-find books there (like first editions and ’70s and ’80s movie novelizations; my latest drug). Or novels I will no doubt re-read (like King).

My Kindle has made this possible more than anything else. I know that a lot of readers shit on the Kindle, saying things like, “A Kindle doesn’t have the feel of a real book!” and “You can’t smell the pages of a Kindle!” Well, I call bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I would love more than to own a gigantic house where I would have a gigantic library, but I live in reality and you there is no good reason why I would need a physical copy John Grisham’s The Firm taking up valuable shelf space when I can have a Limited Edition of Joe Lansdale in its place.

One thing that’s been invaluable in building my eBook collection is Calibre, a free piece of software that is not just an amazing tool to organize your collection, but does a slew of other things, including grabbing and modifying metadata, covers, putting your titles in collections (like Jack Reacher #1, Jack Reacher #2, etc.) and much, much, MUCH more. In addition, you can connect to Calibre wirelessly as long as you have it running, and you can transfer books on the fly.

It gets even better. I have this app on my phone that gives me Google Play Store credit for answering little surveys (generally no more than five questions). Granted, it’s not a lot of money, usually between $0.12 and $0.26, but that really adds up. I was sitting on just over $30 in credit today when an email came through offering me $5 off any book purchase in the Play Store. After some Google searching and program downloading, I head to the Play Store and grabbed Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock for basically free.

Now, because everyone has to be fighting, and everyone has to have their proprietary bullshit, you can’t just buy a book from Google and put it on your Kindle. However, if you do the following, you can very easily convert your purchase to read on your Kindle:

  1. Get the DeDRM tools from here, and follow the instructions on adding the plugin to Calibre
  2. Install Adobe Digital Editions and open the book you purchased and it will convert it to epub.
  3. Go back to Calibre and you’ll now be able to convert that epub to a version you can read on your Kindle.

I’m oversimplifying a bit (it took me a little trial and error, but I got it going), but once you got it down, it opens up some more possibilities when it comes to finding deals on eBooks.

Oh, and I recently started using my library card to “check out” eBooks too. I know, right!?! That’s how I read the latest Reacher novel.

I shit you not, sometimes I feel like Henry Bemis in Time Enough at Last.

This entry is a total cheat.

I actually wrote this entire post as an email to a friend. Then I dropped the dream part as a comment on another friend’s Facebook page. But since I’m a lazy asshole and haven’t updated in a month, you get to read all of it.

Have you ever seen American Mary? You should if you haven’t. It’s brilliant. I loved it. Anywho, in case you haven’t there’s a character named Beatrice. Here’s Beatrice:

beatrice

There’s a lady that works here. She looks and sounds just like Beatrice, except she’s blonde. Whenever I talk to her, I can’t help but stare. She’s SO NICE. But she’s also blonde Beatrice. It’s so distracting. This means nothing unless you’ve seen the film. So go watch the movie. And note, I’m not knocking this lady. She just looks like the actress. And, like I said, she’s so goddamn nice, it’s distracting.

Second, I had this dream last night. In my dream I was driving along and this car with three attractive young ladies pulled up alongside and were sizing me up and hollering at me because I’m so handsome. I was hollering back of course, as not to be rude and ignore. Unfortunately, the driver wasn’t paying close enough attention to the road and ran off it. The car did a bunch of rolls as cars do, and came to a rest upside down and all buckled. Of course I’m a hero, so I pulled over and went to rescue them. The first girl I pulled out of the car had lost her bottom half. She wasn’t bloody at all though. It was just cut clean off from the belly button down. And she was crying and saying, “Look at me! I’m ugly. No one will love me!”

And, me, trying to make her feel better, I say, “No, you’re still beautiful. People will still love you.” Apparently that was the wrong answer because she started screaming at me.

“THAT’S ALL I’M GOOD FOR? MY LOOKS? I HAVE A BRAIN TOO, YOU KNOW.”

And I was like, “Whoa, hang on, I was just…”

“You were just being a pig!”

Then she called the press. SHE CALLED THE PRESS ON ME. And with this being a dream, of course the press was there instantaneously.

Having no time for this bullshit, I went back to the car and rescued the other two women still trapped inside.  They were cool, they thanked me.

I turned around from the car, and all of these mics were in my face and reporters were shouting questions at me:

“DID YOU SAVE HER JUST BECAUSE SHE’S PRETTY?”

“ARE ALL WOMEN NOTHING MORE THAN PIECES OF FLESH TO YOU?”

“DO YOU THINK SHE COULDN’T GET OUT BY HERSELF NEEDED A MAN?????”

I didn’t say anything, just walked away like the Bruce Banner.

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