Confessions of an Insomniac

One sheep, two sheep…

I can’t sleep.

…three sheep, four sheep…

I toss and turn in my bed at night hoping that once I find the right position, maybe I’ll be able to sleep. But to my disappointment, after hours of counting sheep, I’m a little bit too conscious for my liking.

By definition, insomnia is the inability to sleep, most often used to describe periods of time where one cannot sleep. With all of the pressure and stress that accompanies high school, it is no surprise that insomnia is common among teenagers. I have recently done some research on ways to combat sleeplessness, and I would like to share it all with you.

First, it is important to identify why you can’t sleep. Often the inability to sleep is linked to one’s emotions, such as stress, but it can also be due to things that happen in the waking world and surroundings. If you can determine a reason why you can’t sleep, and change it, then all of your troubles will be gone. But it usually isn’t as easy as that.

One thing that can obviously lead to problems is the consumption of too much caffeine. It hypes up the system, therefore making it harder to sleep. Coffee can be helpful in the early mornings, but it’s better to stay away from it in the afternoons.

Another thing that seems obvious, but is sometimes hard to control, especially for high school students, is taking naps. Whenever you sleep, your body re-energizes itself, therefore when you wake up an hour later from a nap, you won’t need to sleep again for a while. If taking a nap is necessary, it is best to limit it to 10 to 20 minutes because it gives you just enough energy, but not too much. It is a terrible cycle to sleep during the day, lie awake at night, and try to wake yourself up as soon as you’ve fallen asleep in the morning.

The last thing that I will share is changing sleeping conditions. Unless I am really tired, I cannot sleep with lights on and I am sure that it is the same for most people. Before you try to sleep, make sure that there are no lights on that can disrupt your sleeping. If your neighbors insist on keeping lights on right outside of your window, I suggest buying a sleeping mask. Also, make sure to stay away from activities that will stimulate your mind and make you feel more awake. It may not sound easy, but the best thing that you can do before sleeping is clearing your mind and relaxing your body. Push the mental to-do list out of your thoughts, and literally just lie in bed. Sleep will usually follow if you do so.

More music blogs

From album reviews to random musings, blogging about music is a fun pastime. In order to hone my own music blogging skills, I have gone on a search to find some other blogs like mine to learn from. These were some of my favorites:

http://www.indieshuffle.com/ This blog gives quality reviews on quality music. The format of the blog is easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye, and the writing is to-the-point and witty. There are also handy mp3s of the songs mentioned in each review right there for you to listen to.

http://raincityambience.com/ As a Seattle native, this blog is quite relevant to my life. Highlighting local artists and concerts in the Seattle area, it also provides great photographs and reviews. What caught my eye was an in-depth review of Deck the Hall Ball (if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that I went), complete with tons of great photography.

My Favorites

Being relatively new to blogging, I have been doing some research to find inspiration. I tend to like movie reviews that are not only brutally honest, but a little funny too. The blog “The Movie Guys” does just that.

http://www.themovieguys.net/

They review a vast number of movies in many different genres. I especially like the different authors they have reviewing each piece, to provide different perspectives on one movie.

Another blog I really liked is

Brianthemovieguy.org

He does reviews of mostly new movies. After reading his blog, I realized that although we do not seem to have the same taste in movies, I was still very entertained.

Foreign affairs blogs

FPIF, Foreign Policy in Focus, is a very resourceful blog that combines the work of many writers and separates the posts into categories based on either regions or issues. This is helpful for me to see ongoing conflict in one country in a neat, chronological order. It is also a great way to see many opinions and viewpoints in one resource. One particular post about the violent actions by the US on the Mexican border was very well written and clear. The author, Laura Carlsen, also had a good way of portraying the situation as I would have. It is beneficial for me to have someone who shares my opinion. Here is the link to the blog, in particular the article by Carlsen: http://www.fpif.org/articles/killing_spree_on_the_border

The New Middle East is a very opinionated blog that provides detailed descriptions and perspective on topics regarding the Middle East. The posts are well-written, balanced, and provide strong analysis. They have a variety of topics and consistently post informational pictures that emphasize their story. For interesting takes on current events, check it out: http://new-middle-east.blogspot.com/

The New Middle East blog often posts extremely helpful pictures that allow the reader to understand the concept better.

A Drive Through A Tree

A Drive through a Tree
Northern California can sometimes be an overlooked place to travel to even though there are cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento, but those are technically in central California. North of those two cities lies the heart of northern California which has picturesque scenery such as Mt. Shasta and the Redwoods. Two great places to visit include Crescent City and Redwood National Park.

Crescent City is a small town nestled in the corner of California by the Pacific Ocean coastline. When I visited this place, I drove there and it was a great stop during a road trip on the way to Redwood National Park. Driving is a better way to get to this region because the cities are smaller, but traveling by plane is possible as well.

Another nearby place that is worth a visit is Redwood National Park. From Crescent City, this national forest is a relatively brief drive if you take Highway 101 going south from Crescent City, which is a great drive, with the scenery and the twists and turns of the road. Redwood National Park is the also the famous landmark with the hole in the tree trunk for tourists to drive through along Highway 101. Some great things to do while visiting this park include hiking, camping, and just driving around to admire the scenery. The best time of year to visit both of these places is during summer, but the spring and fall are both wonderful times to visit as well, with the addition of fewer people. No matter when you are able to go, be sure to put the Redwood National Park on the top of your list of national parks to visit!

My Politics Blog>Your Politics Blog

As riveting as my libertarian blog is, I am going to review a few others.
1. http://www.yaliberty.org/
YAL
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is the largest, most active, and fastest-growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses. With more than 300 chapters and 26,000 student activists nationwide, YAL seeks to recruit, train, educate, and mobilize students on the ideals of liberty and the Constitution.
I like this blog. It’s very well organized and although it revolves around the events of the organization itself, it’s interesting to read how affective their political involvement is. The organization reminds me of a club I am part of, the only difference being YAL is for libertarian college students and mine is for party-diverse high school students.
Rating: 9/10

2. http://www.samizdata.net/
samizdata
This blog makes me uncomfortable. Although it was labeled one of “The Humble Libertarian’s” top 100 libertarian blogs, this blog takes its satirical approach a bit too far. It’s humor-inducing images are creepy and its approach is bizarre. Their description of themselves is “The Samizdata people are a bunch of sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world with the values of personal liberty and several property. Amongst our many crimes is a sense of humour and the intermittent use of British spelling.” …..Um. Ok. I guess it’s a cult type of theme, but it isn’t for me.
Rating: 2/10

In conclusion, there are blogs out there that are astonishingly profound, informative and intriguing– qualities that I need to aim for. My blog doesn’t have as much of an organized theme than the professional ones, nor is it as well-written. I have a long way to move forward!
-Libertarianliaisons

Video Game Blogs

Sorry about the sudden change in topic, but it seems that further analysis of Dark Souls will have to wait a week. This week is all about blogs. Specifically, game blogs other than my own.

I will start with a popular one: Extra Punctuation, a blog on escapistmagazine.com. The man who writes it, going by the name “Yatzee” is a comedic genius. He has attracted the attention of many game developers themselves with his sardonic wit and unending mockery of games and game culture. His points and system of delivering them are something to behold. If blogs aren’t quite your style he also has a series of astoundingly funny animations.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/10090-Humor-and-Realism-Dont-Mix?utm_source=features&utm_medium=index_carousel&utm_campaign=all

Shawn Dumont Picture 12-14-12

This next one is “Ryan’s Video Game Blog.” If you are looking for something more traditional, this is the place to get it. Rather than focusing on concepts of game design like Extra Punctuation, this blog simply reviews popular games from time to time. Nothing could be simpler and more refreshingly direct than this blog.

http://rjvideogamer.blogspot.com/

Basketball Update

Last weekend in men’s basketball, the team split in wins and losses. On Friday, the Eagles played Garfield and lost 81-66. This was a tough game, especially since Garfield is always pretty good. On the bright side, junior Brian Watson was named player of the game. Watson scored a total of 19 points, the team’s leading scorer.

Saturday, the Eagles had a better outcome. The Eagles played Columbia River and won 57-45. Bran Watson, Ryan Sexton, and Ty Gibson all finished with 12 points apiece. This Friday, the Eagles play rivals Skyline, which is always a fun game to attend. Right now Eagles record is 3-1.

Citation: Maxprep Sports

basketball pic

Gluten Free Blogs

There are a lot of gluten free blogs out there, most of them related to recipes and ways to use products.

One such blog is Healthful Persuit (http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/ingredients/)
This bog focuses not only on Gluten Free food, but also on ways to live healthier all around, such as health and fitness ideas. A great feature this site offers are their printable gluten-free recipe cards, which offer a simple way to find something to make for dinner, or a new cookie recipe to try.

Another great gluten free blog is Gluten Free Girl and the Chef (http://glutenfreegirl.com/). This website offers gluten free recipes for every cuisine and type of food you could ever want to make. The recipes are also presented n a story-type format, which makes them fun to read. There are also beautiful pictures of the food. The author of the site, Shauna James Ahern, even has a few cookbooks composing all of her recipes.

Make sure to check out these blogs, they will not leave you disappointed! They have some great gluten free recipes and ideas.

Little Black Dress

Back in the day, people used to think black as a color of death, mourning, sadness, bleakness, and emptiness.

Now it is a trendy color, and people often wear black every day. Even if it may seem like a color of death and sadness, black has a tendency to make one look a lot skinnier than they are. An essential must have is the little black dress.

You come to realize that there is power in the little black dress. It has an enigmatic ability to make you look thinner and better. Vogue magazine wrote, “For any girl, any woman with little money, it’s marvelous to have the possibility of having one dress for the whole season, for the whole year, and be well dressed.”

The most famous example of the black dress is when Audrey Hepburn wore a gorgeous black Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Many other celebrities have worn black dresses as well.

The little black dress is a vital must-have in one’s closet. Even when you have a bad hair day, you can pull off the little black dress.

-Fashion Femme

Room

Room

Jack is a five-year-old whose whole world comprises of his mother and a eleven by eleven foot room. Jack was born in the room and he had never seen the world outside. However, at night his mother closes him into a closet when Old Nick comes to visit. For Jack’s mom, the room is a prison where she has been held for seven years. Despite her fierce love for her son, she cannot keep the truth about the room from him much longer.

Room by Emma Donoghue is probably one of the scariest books I have ever read, and not in the sense that I was actually scared by the scenes but by the simple topic. It trapped me in and I simply had to read it all in one sitting.
The subject matter is a little mature so I would definitely recommend it to high schoolers and older.

So if you’re up for being disturbed then check out Room.

Other Seattle Pro Sports Related Blogs

Mainly writing about professional Seattle sports, I follow the blogs of Geoff Baker and Danny O’Neil . A main reason why I like their blogs is because they write about topics that I enjoy, and they have a formal writing style that also incorporates a laid back/relaxed persona in the two. Both Baker and O’Neil are also writers in the Seattle Times sports section, which I also read daily, where Baker specifically writes about the Mariners and O’Neil writes about the Seahawks.

Both journalists have had their plates full over the past few weeks. Baker is keeping busy with the MLB winter meetings and the madness that is free agent signings that is in full throttle at the moment, especially with the recent signing of Jason Bay and the Mariners’ pursuit of slugger Josh Hamilton. Being football season, O’Neil has been working non-stop, blogging about the Hawks’ games each week not to mention all the controversy surrounding Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner on the NFL substance abuse policy. With the NFL playoffs on the horizon and the Hawks’ recent success, especially the blowout of Arizona, there is almost always something to blog about. Both O’Neil and Baker always have a good opinion on Seattle related topics and they can be found through the links below.

Danny O’Neil: Seahawks
http://seattletimes.com/html/seahawksblog/?from=stnv2

Geoff Baker: Mariners
http://blogs.seattletimes.com/mariners/?from=stnv2

More Friendly Advice

These past couple of weeks I have been giving you my opinion on matters that I notice in my own life. I try to give you advice that is reasonable and the kind of advice that I would want to receive. However, I am not alone in the blogging world, and I have found the following blogs to be very helpful for my own learning and in the advice that they give. Please check them out if you have time!

1. Always Marsha– http://alwaysmarsha.com/

  • The original intention of my blog was to answer questions. However, up until this point I have not received any questions of my own to answer. My hope was to have a blog similar to the one that she runs. Though she has not been active since July 2012, I really like the way that she gives the advice that people may not want to hear, but the advice that they need to hear. She is often pretty matter-of-fact and she gives quality advice. Even if the submitted question has nothing to do with my own life, I am still interested to read her responses because she is very insightful in her answers. Also, her signature sign off with “Always, Marsha” is a nice touch.

2. Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara– http://www.wayneandtamara.com/index.htm

  • This blog is similar to Always Marsha in that it is set up as a letter to the editors and their answer. The largest difference that I noticed, however, is the fact that Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara is dedicated to relationship advice specifically. One of the things that appealed to me the most about this advice column is the fact that it is written by both a man and a woman. I think that there are differences between opinions of men and women for the most part, so it is interesting for me to see both sides of the spectrum. 

I encourage you to check these out, they both give quality advice. And, of course, I am always here to answer questions, so ask away!

-Kai

Christmas songs….

Alright, we all know what’s coming. The carols, sleigh bells, and cheery choruses of songs we all know are fast approaching. However, you can enjoy the Christmas season with a less cheesy selection of holiday tunes. Many of your favorite artists put out Christmas singles around the holidays, either originals or covers of classics.

One of my favorite collections of cool Christmas songs is Gift Wrapped: 20 Songs That Keep On Giving. This compilation includes an angry version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by My Chemical Romance (a personal favorite) and a fresh take on “Sleigh Bells” by Meaghan Smith, as well as songs by Foxy Shazam, Jack’s Mannequin, Regina Spektor, The Used, and Relient K. The collection is kind of hit or miss in my opinion, but it includes enough gems to make it worth a listen.