Saturday, May 15, 2010

Alternatives to counting sheep


Before you start worrying about your poor blogger, let me say this: I normally sleep very well. So well, in fact, that I'm practically narcoleptic (see the list of Movies I have slept through, which I'm afraid has grown longer since I wrote it). But every once in a while I find myself staring up at the bedroom ceiling, obsessing over some moronic thing and trying to convince my brain to shut the hell up. That's when I bust out my favorite go-to-sleep techniques. Try 'em: they're cheaper than Ambien and won't make you scarf down the contents of your refrigerator.

1. Naming all the states in alphabetical order. I usually forget one of the M states. There are just too freakin' many of those; one of them's gotta go. Maybe Maryland.

2. Making a list of songs with names in the title (also in alphabetical order). "Alison," "Beth," "Sweet Caroline..." This can, however, cause some wretched tune to get stuck in your head the next day. I warn against picking "Help Me, Rhonda" for R.

3. Counting back from 100. It's actually not just counting: you have to imagine yourself writing each number on a chalkboard and then erasing it. I learned this one as a kid from a book called How to Make Your Dreams Work for You. For the record, I have never been able to Make My Dreams Work for Me. (Tragic, I know.)

4. Telling myself the plot of a movie or a book. Babe (yeah, the g.d. talking pig movie) is a standby. I usually don't get too far past the point where Farmer Hoggett wins the little dude at the fair.

5. Doing multiplication tables. The problem with this? It makes me realize I suck at arithmetic. Once I get past the fives I really have to work at it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Things I actually don't mind


OK, I admit it: I'm a crank. All kinds of stuff bugs the living crap out of me: whistling, loud talkers, Seann William Scott... There are, however, some things that annoy other people that really don't irritate me at all. Allow me to pat myself on my curmudgeonly back.

1. Subway preachers. I kind of enjoy being stuck in a train car with these people, because they're often West Indian women with really nice accents. Sure, they tell me I'm bound for eternal damnation, but they sound so cool when they do it.

2. Nails on a chalkboard.
That sound that can make a whole classroom full of fourth graders cower under their desks? No effect on me. (Styrofoam packing noodles rubbed on bus windows, however...)

3. Waking up before 7 am on a weekend.
In college, I rarely dragged my butt out of bed before noon on a Sunday. (Granted, I rarely went to sleep before 2 am.) Now, if I sleep past 9 I feel somehow cheated. Few things make me happier than getting up early, beating the crowds at the bagel store and feeling the day stretch out wide ahead of me.

4. Lousy weather.
Heat wave?
Cold snap? Hail the size of Nerf basketballs? Bring it. As they say in Minnesota (where I occasionally pretend I am from), there's no such thing as bad weather — only bad clothes. Plus, blizzards, downpours and the like make staying indoors acceptable, and I'll take any excuse to indulge my agoraphobic tendencies.

5. Longwinded old people.
If you want to spend 40 minutes rambling on about something that happened to you in 1935, I'm your audience.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Things I would like to print on cards to hand out


Ah, rudeness: you can't live in the big city without slamming up against it. If I had any guts whatsoever, I'd confront the impolite people around me and make them see the error of their ways. But since I don't, I'm left to fantasize about handing them little cards that express my dismay. Por ejemplo: