This is my Blog, on it I simply write stuff that I feel like writing about. You'll find it heavily slanted towards tech, games, entertainment and the like. I write about other stuff too, and somethings I write about things. I also do photography, the link is on your right.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Well good tiding ladies and germs, Halloween is almost upon us once again. Seemly sneaking out from the dark shadowy corner of a abandon mental institute basement. Scraping ominously forward on the cold concrete, throaty ragged breath and menacing red glowing eyes dragging closer, and closer. There is no escape, your back up against the wall, clammy and slick with some unknown, gummy liquid. Possibly blood, but it’s to dark to tell. It’s on your hands, the back of your jacket, in your hair. The remnants of it’s last victim no doubt. You glance toward the stairs, at the top of the landing is a single flickering bulb, hanging from a frayed wire. It’s should be casting it’s light down the flight of stairs toward you, but it seems to shy away, almost as if it knows whatever is down here should not and can not be illuminated. You are panicking now. Your breath is coming in ragged gasps, there’s not enough air down here, you can’t seem to think clearly. There’s a small voice in back of your mind, a voice of reason saying, this isn’t happening, this isn’t real, but it’s muffled and far away. It’s very close now, darkness, black shadowy nightmare. A sudden high pitched shriek echo's through the building and its on you. There is no struggle, there is no fight, just a fresh coat of red on the wall behind you.
Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week, be sure to tip your waitress, and try the veal.
I really enjoy Halloween. I’m not one of these people who spend half the year cooking up an insane costume or anything like that, my enjoyment is a little more…subdued. I mean, I don’t like parties, I don’t like dressing up, I don’t like kids, what else is there? I like Halloween because it bring into the spotlight something that I find very fascinating, the perception of the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, witchcraft, voodoo, ESP, precognition, telepathic powers, magic, and of course zombies!
I use the term perception of the paranormal because that’s what it is, perceptions, all this stuff is completely harmless, because it only exists in our minds eye, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Obviously there are countless accounts of people all over the world who swear by their experiences into the unknown. I wholeheartedly agree that these people wholeheartedly believe what they have experienced is real. There is one very important thing to consider whenever you believe you have experienced something supernatural, and this is the whole concept of this post.
Your brain is a complete and utter ASSHOLE!
It is the one foe that knows your every weakness, it knows how to push your buttons. It knows how to get under your skin, because it quite literally is. It’s the foe that you cannot outsmart, cannot reason with, it will defeat you at every turn. It doesn’t matter how clever you are, how reasonable you are, or how savvy you are, it’s better.
I browsed a conversation on reddit the other day, it was a discussion of people posting the freakiest thing that ever happened to them. I would say that a good 60-70% of the stories posted were of the “something evil in my bedroom” kind of thing. Every one of them had the same aspects to them.
-A dark figure, either hovering over them, standing at the foot of the bed, sitting on their chest, or coming in through a door/window.
-Hard to breath, pressure on the chest or back
-sense of looming evil, hatred, or malice
-hearing breathing or voices
-inability to move or talk
Now this all sounds very terrifying, and if it happens to you, it in fact does feel very real. I should know, it’s happened to me. To discover what is really going on here all you really have to do is Google “sleep paralysis.” Every single one of these points correspond exactly with a symptom of it. Essentially what is happening is, you are stuck somewhere between REM sleep and fully conscious. This can last for several seconds to several hours in rare cases. You can’t move because your body is paralysed during REM sleep so you can’t act out your dreams, combine that with extremely vivid hallucinations and your mind reflexively goes into self preservation mode. When you are in that mode, your mind automatically errs on the side of caution, thus assigning your hallucinations as hostile.
It’s funny though, even when people are confronted with this overwhelmingly simple scientific explanation they somehow believe that their experience was different, that they are the exception because is was simply “too real” to have been a hallucination. There are also the “one offs,” variations on the theme. Some people claim that they could in fact move, and tried to escape, or that they have physical marks on them, or that someone sharing the room with them also saw it, but couldn’t seem to remember it in the morning. What you have to remember is, your brain is a complete and utter ASSHOLE. If it tells you it’s real, then you have no choice but to believe it. After all, your hallucinations ARE real, then were made by your brain, which is the very same brain that insists that they are real. You can even hallucinate that you moved, acted in some way, or maybe you even did, but just because you moved, doesn’t mean the hallucinations have to go away immediately.
Precognition was another big theme in the discussion. People claiming to have seen or felt or experienced something happening in advance. The most obvious explanation for this is pure and simple coincidence. Something very similar you saw in the past corresponds with something you see in the present, and your brain makes a connection where there is none. The second explanation although benign in nature, I find equally as terrifying as a paranormal experience.
Your memories are not what you think they are. Often times something you remember as cold hard facts, the history of your life, is partially a fabrication. Your memories are not set in stone, saved on a hard drive and posted to Youtube. They are in constant flux, changing ever so subtlety as time goes by. Something you see in the present can get copy and pasted to a memory in your past. Kind of make you wonder how fine the line really is between sane and insane.
There are a few other common threads in supposed paranormal experiences, one very popular one is suggestive psychology. Essentially if you tell someone a house is haunted before they go it in, thier mind will fill in the blanks. They will be more likely to experience something than someone who has not been told the house was haunted. It’s like a placebo effect. Simple explanation as to why that is? Your brain is a complete and utter ASSHOLE.
The final common theme I wanted to cover was the ol’ “something in the woods” type experiences. Now when it’s cold and dark, and the forest is looming up ominously around you, once again, your primal instincts kick in. Every sound, every rustle, every snapped twig is automatically assigned as a threat. That fear is designed to keep you alive, although I doubt that fluffy little bunny that just hopped out from the underbrush is going to hurt you, you big sissy.
So, this Halloween, have fun, scare yourself! Go hang out in graveyard at night. Watch scary movies, tell ghost stories, visit a haunted house, walk under a ladder, break a mirror, summon Bloody Mary in the bathroom, it’s all silly, but can be fun too, even if just for an adrenaline rush.
Oh, and seriously it’s just a bunny, a fluffy one, with a poofy tail. Ya’ big baby.
Friday, 12 October 2012
There are all kinds of horrible diseases in this world. Large, far reaching diseases like cancer and AIDS. These are so prevalent in todays society that it would be difficult to find someone who has NOT in some way been affected by it. It is estimated by the World Heath Organization that 7.6 million+ people die worldwide ever year from cancer. There are over 200 different types of cancer that the human body can be afflicted with, and there are only three different treatments. Naturally because of the scope and scale of this disease, it gets lots of exposer. Cancer research, treatment trials, fund raisers, Facebook slacktivism, celebrity spokespeople, etc. It’s ubiquitous as far as diseases go. You ask anyone to quickly name a disease, cancer will probably be their answer. It deservers the attention it gets.
As deadly as it is, there is one disease that can overshadow even cancer’s far reaching grasp, and that would be the disease that YOU have.
Everyone no doubt has heard of Kidney disease, after all it’s mortality rate is quiet respectable at around 1.2 million deaths per year, worldwide. The term “Kidney disease” is kind of a catch all for many distinct different afflictions that just happen to target the kidneys. Some can be immediately fatal, like acute kidney failure, some are simply extremely painful but otherwise harmless, like kidney stones. The most common kind however, is chronic kidney disease. It’s a slow, steady, inevitable march towards renal failure. It’s insidiousness lies in the fact that someone can have a disease their whole life and not know it until it’s too late. No symptoms, no side effects.
This is what I have, and as selfish as it may sound, to me, it is the most important disease. To be more specific, I have polycystic kidney disorder, or PKD for short. There are two versions of this disease, but by far the most common type is the autosomal dominant version. It’s transmitted genetically from parent to child at an alarming rate of a 50% chance. PKD is widely noted as being the most life-threatening genetically past on disorder. Basically what happens is your kidneys start to grow cysts, usually this starts at a fairly young age. Then, as you age you start to get cysts on your cysts. Your kidneys start to balloon out as you age, getting up to four or five times their original size. From here there is a whole shopping list of symptoms that cab occur. Oddly though, patients my experience some none or even all of them. Nobody really knows why the extreme divergence.
These include mild to sever back and side pain, as well as headaches. Urinary tract infections, hematuria, liver and pancreas cysts, abnormal heart valves, high blood pressure, kidney stones, aneurysms, exhaustion and diverticulosis. Or course, in addition your kidneys can slowly start the grim march toward failure. I say “can” because in some lucky people, the kidneys never do fail. They can live a relatively normal healthy life. Once again, nobody seems to have an answer as to why that is. Noticing a trend? Nobody seems to know much of anything about this disease, I’ve even got to doctors and had to explain to them what it was.
One side effect that you won’t read in any medical text or website is this. If you have this disease, then it is very likely that several if not all of your family members do too. This not only means you will not be getting a transplant from them, but you could potentially have to watch all of your loved ones slowly degrading into renal failure. My Grandmother ultimately died from it when I was very young. My mother has it, my sister has it, my brother has it, as well as a whole cavalcade of cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Every day I thank the anonymous person who sign up to donate their organs when they past. That person gave my mother a kidney. Such a simply thing, and yet if you were to do it, you will have a profound impact on someone’s life, even if you never know it.
Why am I writing this? I feel like this is an intensely personal thing, more suited to private journal than a public blog. I think maybe because I feel the need to shine some light on the disease, even though nobody reads this damn thing. Possibly it’s because I am scared, terrified in fact. I am one of the unlucky ones, I have been blesses with almost every nasty symptom that my kidneys can throw at me. I’m scared, but I need to face up to it, I have no choice in the matter. This is one way for me to face up to that fear. Call it out publicly and say, “fuck you PKD!” I think it’s a general rule that if your are crying as you are typing, your probably shouldn’t publish it, but you know, fuck it.