How I Beat Insomnia

insomnia

Insomnia sucks. You lie in bed in a dark silent room with your eyes closed hoping to drift off to sleep, but all you can think about is new ways to beat the bad guys in your favorite video game, or how you would design your tiny house layout. Maybe you are thinking of something that someone said and it is bugging the heck out of you. Perhaps you are having flashbacks of a time when you were treated poorly by someone or a group of people. Or fill in the blanks.

That’s been my problem for several years. I remember a time when I could barely keep my eyes open after midnight when Ghost Hunters was doing a live ghost hunt on Halloween, but for the last few years, staying up past midnight was a non issue. In fact, I was lucky if I was going to bed by 5am. Insomnia has been awful for me for a very long time. I was taking Ambien for more than 10 years, then the insurance stopped paying for it, or any other sleeping pills for that matter. I’ve been buying over the counter sleeping pills. Your body becomes immune after taking so many sleeping pills. One of my doctors told me to take Benadryl, and I did, but that too stopped making me sleep. I thought about buying NyQuil, but that can get expensive.

So how did I beat insomnia? I bought a FitBit earlier this year, and it has an alarm on it that vibrates to wake you up. I decided to start using it, so I would set the alarm for 8am. The first couple of days I would wake up and 8am, but press the button and go back to sleep. Then I decided to get up at 8am, but by 10am I was sleepy again, so I would take a nap. I tried staying awake as long as I could, and try as I might I would still fall asleep after noon around 1pm or 2pm. I tried my best to stay awake, so when I would find myself drifting off to sleep, I would sit up and drink something cold and get up and walk around. Sometimes I would get in the shower because washing your body usually wakes you up.

It might have taken me 2 weeks to finally get to the point where even though the alarm is set for 8am, I wake up at 6am. Of course I try to go back to sleep and wake up at 8, but there are days where I’m so awake that I just can’t possibly go back to sleep, so I just get up. Now when I’m watching my shows at night, I’ll start drifting off to sleep at like 9 or 10pm and I’m asleep all night until 6 or 8am. No more sleeping pills.

We have a new doctor who is Hindu and he told me I could try meditation and I have tried meditation in the past, but I’ve gotten to the point where it just puts me to sleep. I mean like during the day. I think trying to meditate at night when you are trying to fall asleep is a great idea, but I don’t need to meditate to fall asleep anymore since my body has gotten used to calling it a day by 9pm. So I don’t need medication, nor do I need meditation to sleep.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you are able to fall asleep at a decent hour, despite the fact that I don’t have a job to go to in the morning.

Advertisements

You have the wrong number!

wrong number

You know how maddening it is when you get a new phone with a new phone number and people keep calling you because they still think their friend has that number, but they don’t because they lost it when they stopped paying for their phone.  I have been going crazy since mid-December when I got my new HTC One V from Virgin Mobile.

They don’t call me everyday, but sometimes they do, and it’s always a recording in Spanish.  Since I don’t speak Spanish, I could never figure out what the recording said.  When the recording ended, the phone would go dead.  I didn’t spend too much time waiting for that to happen because it was a long speech every time.

I called the phone number and got a person and asked who they were and they told me they were a school.  I told them what happened and they said they were sorry and they would fix it.  Weeks went by and I continued getting these phone calls every few days, mostly in the evenings, and sometimes twice a day, one right after the other.  I would just hang up and deal with it, and it wasn’t as annoying in the beginning as it was toward the end when I was ripping what hair I had left out of my head.

I called them another 2 or 3 times sometimes almost yelling because I was so frustrated.  They explained that it was an automated system and that they were searching for my phone number, and of course I had to give them my name and number so they could search and call me when they found it and removed it.

The phone rang at 6:30am on Monday morning and woke me out of a dead sleep.  I was FU-RI-OUS!  I tried going back to sleep, but I just lay there fully awake for the next couple of hours.  I didn’t call them until the next day because I didn’t want to end up being too angry and yelling.  After all, it isn’t their fault this is happening, it’s the fault of whoever owned my number previously who never called the school to give them a change of phone number.  When I did call, they already knew it was me before I even told them.  They told me that they have been working hard to find my number and would call me.  I wasn’t angry, in fact I was laughing and I had a smile on my face.

I did figure out how to block that automated number from calling me.  I had to add them to my address book and then hit block, but that only keeps me from hearing the phone ring.  The recording leaves a message so the phone still chimes when I have new voice mail.

The phone rang at 9:20am this morning and it was the school, but it was a live human and not a recording.  They were calling me to tell me that they found my number and were able to remove it from their system successfully, they told me that if I got another call to just call them back and they will find out why.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to receive that phone call.  I was laughing and I had an ear to ear smile.

I got my phone on December 23rd 2012 and today is February 5th 2013.  Why did it take so long to get my number out of their system?  Well, I really don’t care, I am just glad that it is out and I never have to hear recordings in Spanish again.  That is until I have to get a new phone number again.  I better do what I can to keep this phone number lol.

The Sims 2 Castaway for PSP

sims2castaway-01

I have wanted to play this game for as long as I have had my PSP and I finally bought it today via digital download on the PlayStation Store directly on the PSP.  I love how you can just download games right onto your game system lol.  I mean, I couldn’t do that with my Atari 2600 back when I was a kid, or my Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Game Boy when I was in my early 20’s.  I just think this technology is awesome.  But I digress.

I love The Sims, I don’t know what it is about the series or why I like it so much.  In the  Sims games, you have to do certain things like sleep, eat, use the restroom, socialize, entertain yourself etc.  If you don’t do these things then your Sim will be very unhappy and probably die.  I’ve never let it get to that point so I wouldn’t know for sure that that would happen.

The Sims 2 Castaway, you start out on a boat and you get to add a bunch of characters.  I only added 2 because at the start of a game, I don’t want to have to deal with taking care of a bunch of Sims’ needs.  I can barely handle 1, so I just made 2 so that when the time came to take care of the 2nd guys needs, then I will figure it out.  I have the game forever so I can always either go back in and start over, or I can start a 2nd game.

After I created my Sims, they went sailing and there was a storm and yadda yadda yadda, stranded on a deserted island… castaway lol.  He is alone, so my 2nd sim must be somewhere else.  I haven’t found him yet.

All I seem to do is harvest things and fill my Sims needs.  I have to harvest banana leaves and vines and food and this and that and the other.  I need to harvest in order to eat, but I also have to harvest in order to make things, like clothes, a bed, a hut and whatever sorted things there are to make.  Even though I have to harvest everything, I already know that it doesn’t matter because I’m already addicted to it.  I just looked at the clock and it’s 1:30am.  The last time I checked the clock it was 11:30pm.  So I’ve been staring at my PSP for the last 2 hours like a zombie lol.

HPNX1995

This is my character.  You know, it’s too bad the PSP doesn’t take screenshots, otherwise the image would be so much nicer.  Here he is wearing “Elven Short Shorts” because I didn’t have the ingredients for making anything else.  This outfit took 5 banana leaves and 5 vines.  In order to make something else, I will need more of the same ingredients as well as grass.  Actually, this is the first outfit that I made, the second outfit I made is actually kind of embarrassing.  I wouldn’t want my picture taken with it on and so I am going to respect my Sim by not showing what he is wearing, you know, out of respect for a person that doesn’t exist lol.  He still has pride you know.

EA has only released 3 games for the PSP.  The Sims, The Sims 2: Pets and The Sims 2: Castaway.  I would love it if they would have 1 game with expansions you can buy, or maybe the Sims 3 with or without expansions.  I’d love to play the Sims that you get to play on the Android phones that have vampires in it lol.  Oh well, I will keep dreaming about that Android phone and maybe one day I might get one.  I will keep dreaming.  In the meantime, I have this new game to play and I love it.

If It Isn’t One Thing, It’s Another

So I bought a new video card this month and even though it started out bad, I found a solution to keep it turned on and working right.  As long as I didn’t turn the computer off completely but instead put it to sleep when I’m not using it then all would be ok.

We got a notice on the door from PG&E on Wednesday that our electricity would be shut off Friday for an unspecified amount of time.  Well, I knew that this would cause my computer to turn off all the way.  When I got my computer to work before it didn’t take more than a few minutes for it to turn on so I never thought in a million years that it would be a huge issue for my computer to be without power even for a few hours.

Our power got shut off as I was expecting but when it finally came back on, my computer didn’t want to turn back on.  It eventually did come on but it said something about the CMOS.  I was given 2 choices.  F1 to enter the setup or F2 to choose optimal settings.  I chose F1 and in there I chose optimal settings and it turned on and went into Windows just fine.  It all got frozen so I rebooted.  I didn’t have any rebooting issues before so I didn’t think anything of it.

When it turned back on I got another blank screen.  Nothing was happening and I was back at square 1.  Dammit!  Why did I have to reboot?  Well, I’m glad I did because it told me that I wasn’t finished, also, I shouldn’t live in fear of turning my computer off.  That’s certainly no way to live.  So I opened the side panel and clear the CMOS (pulling the jumper from 1-2, putting it on 2-3 waiting 5 seconds then putting it back on 1-2).

Turned the computer back on and nothing.  Eventually it did show me the same issue and I chose F2 and for some reason it did start to load but then it rebooted.  I got the screen you see when you first turn the computer on but then the monitor went dead again and it never turned on again.

I’ve opened the case, reseated everything.  Pulled all the power supply plugs then put them all back in their place and turned it on and still nothing.  The only light that turns on is the green light.  At one point the red light would flash 3 times in a row then pause then 3 times over and over.  Then another point it would flash 2 then pause then 1 then pause then 2 then 1 etc.  Then no lights flashing at all.  I don’t understand.

I opened it up again and with my bicycle light I inspected everything and I did find this little issue which would explain why I wasn’t hearing any beeping sounds.

The red wire on my speaker wasn’t connected.  I tried soldering it back on but it still doesn’t beep.  Although, I’m not exactly sure I did it right.  They are inexpensive and I tried to buy another one at the computer store and they looked at me like I was an alien from outer space when I asked for it.  I went to Radio Shack next door and the guy I asked said they didn’t sell those.

I was looking at the video card box and it shows the system requirements on the side of the box.  One of those requirements is power supply and it shows a link to the list of power supplies that are compatible and my new power supply isn’t anywhere on that list.  Probably because it was the cheapest power supply they sold.

The reason I bought a cheap power supply is because I didn’t even think that it would affect any of the hardware.  I always thought that as long as it gave power to the computer that it didn’t matter how cheap it was.  How wrong was I!  So, now I have to buy a new power supply and it could cost me as much as $100-$250.  I am too poor to spend $250 just for a power supply so I have to go through the list on the Best Buy website to get prices so I know I’m getting a good power supply but in the $100 range.

I looked at websites like NewEgg.com and TigerDirect.com and they did have a couple that were on the list but what if I did order one and I had to wait a week for it to come and it still didn’t work?  I’d have to send it back, buy another one, wait another week.  Forget it!

I was looking at the Best Buy website last night and I narrowed down my search to the $50-$99 price range then looked at all of the power supplies they sell and compared them to the list and the least expensive one on the list is the Cooler Master GX 650 for $99.  It’s a bit expensive but considering I wouldn’t have to wait for it to come to me in the mail I’m willing to pay for the convenience of getting my computer working immediately.

It took a week for my video card to arrive and even though it wasn’t too late to send it back, once I got it working and cut the proof of purchase off the box to send the rebate in, it was too late to send it back.  I would much rather buy something in a store so I can return it for a new one of it doesn’t work right.  I should have done that with my video card, then again I still have a crappy power supply so now I know why my video card doesn’t work.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to do this until next week when I get my next check because I am so broke right now.  But I really don’t need to have my computer right away so it can wait.  As long as I have my Chromebook I’m fine.  I can spend my week reading books like I did before I got my new video card.  It’s not a huge crisis but still, I want my computer to work.

Solution To My Video Card Issues

I got my new video card yesterday and was freaking out about how it doesn’t turn on right away.  I was afraid that I would be stuck with it because I had already cut off the proof of purchase from the box to send in to get my $15 rebate.

Last night when I went to bed, instead of turning it off I just put it in sleep mode.  At least if it’s in sleep mode the whole night I can see in the morning if it wakes up fast, slow or at all.  Well, it woke up fast so I don’t have to freak out that my computer isn’t coming back on.  I’ve heard that it’s better for your computer if you put it in sleep mode rather than turning it off so this is what I will have to do from now on.  When I reboot the computer, it comes on right away, it’s just when I turn it off completely that it doesn’t seem to want to come back on for a few minutes.

Also, I learned that when I have Lord of the Rings Online loaded without my TV cloned it runs perfectly fine.  It’s when my TV is cloned that I have issues where the screen resolution changes from 1280×768 down to 848×480.  When I have the tv extended so it’s the tv on the left and monitor on the right and I try to load LOTRO, nothing happens.  The game doesn’t even try to load.  When the tv is extended so it’s the tv on the right still, nothing happens.  So, I guess I can never use the tv to play my game.  I think if I had a secondary monitor it might work but I don’t have one so I will never find out.

Another thing that I learned is that I have a program on my computer called Boxee.  I guess I forgot about that.  I can clone my tv with the computer and watch Boxee on my tv.  Boxee is very similar to the Roku box, it has all the same apps, give or take, and the software is free for my computer.  So, that’s awesome.

I don’t have to worry about returning my card or feeling like I’m stuck with it anymore because I have made it work for me.  As long as I never turn it off, with the exception of the occasional reboot that is, then I am fine.  Just put it to sleep when I’m not using it and it turns on just as quick as my Chromebook comes on.  So that’s actually even better that I don’t have to wait but a few seconds to start working on my computer.

YAY ME!

Bike Safety 101: Riding the Roads

This morning I had planned on getting up at 4:30am as usual for my bike ride but because I went to bed at 11pm last night, I was still too groggy so I decided to sleep another hour.  I don’t have any place to be so why not right?  Darrin, thinking that I’m awake comes into my room at 4:45am to make me read an article in the newspaper about bicycle safety.

When I got up at 5:30 I read the article and thanked him for thinking of me.  Fortunately I already know everything that was in the article so I was already covered.  Luckily I don’t have to spend too much time on the road with cars to have to worry, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be reminded of the rules of the road every now and again.

I noticed that the article was written by the Chicago Tribune so I went online to find it and here it is.  Bike safety 101: Riding the roads – Chicago Tribune

That article has some good points but there are some things that they didn’t mention so I am here to add something to the list.

When you are riding with a helmet, and make sure you are, also buy a helmet mounted rear view mirror so you can see the cars and cyclists behind you.  This helps me see the cars behind me on the road and it also helps me see when there are a bunch of cyclists speeding towards me.  The article says that assume that there are drivers who are either drunk, texting or just not paying attention.  You can’t be looking behind you constantly so it’s a good thing to have that mirror.  And not handlebar mirrors because in some cases you can’t really look down, that would be too distracting.

Unfortunately, as with cars there are blind spots, even with helmet mounted mirrors.  This morning as I was coming home, I left the bike trail and got back on the street with traffic and there is a stretch of road that curves.  Well, in my mirror I can see behind me but there is a blind spot.  Unless I turn my head to look completely, I won’t see the cars that are driving directly behind me in the right lane, only the cars in the other lanes.

I had stopped because of all the traffic.  I usually go out into the left hand turning lane in the center of the road to get back into the neighborhoods and it’s usually safe in that spot but this morning after all the cars passed by I started to ride again and as I was picking up speed I noticed out of my peripheral vision a black SUV that swerved to stop before it hit me.  That was my fault because I shouldn’t just look in the mirror, especially when I stop like that.  I need to turn my head around so I can see to make sure there aren’t any cars still coming.  I was still looking in the mirror so that’s why it was puzzling that I didn’t see it.

As I was getting in the turning lane I looked over at him and waved saying “SORRY!” and he waved back at me as if to say “it’s ok”.  If I had gotten hit, it would’ve been my fault because I wasn’t paying attention to my blind spots.

So that is another tip to think about when you are riding in curved roads with cars.  Check your blind spots before going into the turning lane otherwise you might get killed.

The funny thing is, I was thinking about that article when that happened so my mind was elsewhere.  I was thinking about bicycle road safety when I was unsafe.  Oh sweet irony.

I learned a huge lesson today about safety.  I also learned that if I can’t leave the house as early as 5am then perhaps I need to just stay home because it’s much easier to get into that turning lane early in the morning when there are no cars on the road.  I would much rather be safe with no cars than get hit by a car because of a stupid blind spot.

Tsunami and 8.9 Quake in Japan

Japan had an earthquake yesterday that measured 8.9 on the scale which they haven’t had that big in 100 years. Following their earthquake was a Tsunami which ravaged them. The news channels showed video footage of people in offices and homes during the earthquake and showed the tsunami washing over their farm lands and washing out roads and people waving from the 2nd story of a building which I can only assume is their home.

I was seeing people tweeting about it but me being the news hater that I am, I refused to turn CNN on. But then I finally did and I was glued to the TV until 2am. I had to get to sleep because there really wasn’t much I could do by watching.

I woke up at 5am and turned the news back on but I couldn’t stay awake, I kept falling asleep but I was more half asleep so I was still listening. They said that Hawaii was hit but gave no footage. Finally at 11am I turned the news off because I was just so sick to my stomach about the whole thing.

They said that there was a city in California that was hit but basically the only thing that was damaged was a bunch of boats. They can replace that easily.

So pray for Japan, they’re gonna need it. If you want to donate some money to help Japan you can read this USA Today article here.

Image Source Reuters