Tag Archives: mad world

A Piece Missing—They probably would have been called nightmares!

A Piece Missing

Relevant music for your reading enjoyment:

“Mad World” by Tears for Fears, 1982

“Mad World” by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules, 2001
(from the movie “Donnie Darko”)

“Mad World” by Adam Lambert, 2009
(from the eighth season of “American Idol”)

I never had a dream that I can remember until a few months ago. Now it seems I’m dreaming every night, and I remember the dreams, and the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had….

My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother used to find me awake in my room in the middle of the night, with a flashlight, reading. That was shortly after she adopted me in December 1965, just a few months short of me turning 11. At first she got upset, and punished me. However, after many nights of catching me not sleeping, she finally took me to the doctor, the same doctor (Dr. Newell) who had brought me into this world on March 11, 1955, at 11:58 p.m. After an extensive physical exam, including my first check for hernias (I will always remember the first Zoey the Cool Cat on the bookshelftime someone else touched my junk!), he diagnosed me as “a catnapper.”

I have been a catnapper all my life, but I have learned to use it to my advantage. I used to tell my bosses that if they needed anything done overnight that I could make it happen. Eventually, bosses were approaching me at 4:45 p.m. with work that needed to be done by 5:00 a.m. (8:00 a.m. for our East Coast clients). Russel was on it! No problem!

Using it to my advantage didn’t mean that I was happy being a catnapper. I spent many thousands of dollars at Boston Medical Center, Houston Medical Center, and UCLA Medical Center trying to find out what was wrong with me that I couldn’t sleep more than three hours at a time, never reaching REM sleep, and never dreaming.

Finally, I got involved in a sleep study here in San Diego THAT PAID ME instead of me paying them. After nine consecutive days (two weekends and a week) of sleeping in a laboratory, the doctors diagnosed me as a “polyphasic sleeper.”

WTF

A catnapper!

Prior to 1989, we were catnappers. Now we are polyphasic sleepers.

I’m still a polyphasic sleeper, getting my 8-10 hours of sleep each day in increments of 30 minutes or so every 4-6 hours. However, when I finally hit the sack for the last time, around midnight to 2:00 a.m., I am able to sleep for 5-6 hours. I’m fairly certain that my newfound sleep and dreams are related to new medications.

That means that I enter REM sleep and get to dream.

And the dreams are vivid!

Firestarter, by Stephen KingThey seem to be based on movies and TV shows I have enjoyed, especially Stephen King movies, science fiction movies (Star Trek, Star Wars), TV shows (The Time Tunnel, and back to Star Trek).

And I always die.

And I always wake up the moment I’m killed.

And I always remember them.

Pretty cool….

Although I will admit that I’m probably lucky that I didn’t have these dreams when I was a child. They probably would have been called nightmares!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Music on Mondays (2-13-17)—Sweet dreams in a mad world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

All my life I have been a catnapper, never getting more than 4 hours of sleep at any one time, and getting that much sleep at one time usually meant that I was drunk. The last time I was drunk enough to get 4 hours of sleep was somewhere around 1980. I decided that getting an extra couple of hours of sleep didn’t justify the effects of being drunk. I just don’t like being drunk.

I spent tens of thousands of dollars at the UCLA Medical Center, Houston Medical Center, and Boston Medical Center trying to find why my circadian rhythm was all wacko. Nothing. Until about five years ago when I tried to get involved in a sleep research study right here in San Diego. I failed the entry questions because I was diagnosed as a “polyphasic sleeper.” Since the mid-1990’s that has been the official medical term for catnappers.

Being a polyphasic sleeper means that I rarely dream, and I never reach REM sleep which is where those really active dreams occur. Lately, though, since November 8, 2016, I have been getting more sleep, and much more REM sleep. I have been dreaming for the first time in my life.

Active dreams.

Some might even call them nightmares.

I have been dreaming about dictators, dystopian worlds, battered and abused women and children, the disabled, LGBTQ people, sexual assaults, racism, the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Hitler, Mussolini, Putin, nuclear war, animal abuse…. Everything that our current President represents has appeared in my dreams. It hasn’t been pretty.

I think I want to go back to a time before November 8, 2016….

With that said, here are some of my favorite songs about dreams:

“Mad World” by Tears For Fears, 1983

“All I Have To Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers, 1958

“Dream On” by Aerosmith, 1973

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House, 1986

Sweet Dremas (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics, 1983

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, 1977

“Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright, 1975

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Music on Mondays (12-19-2016)—When people run in circles

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Up until the age of 18 I had always wanted to be a history teacher. Then I  found out how much money teachers made and decided that I wanted more. I still love history, though, so each day at midnight or shortly thereafter, I head to Wikipedia to see what happened on this day in history. I continue to learn some interesting things, and I post my favorites over on my Facebook page.

For example, today is Jake Gyllenhaal’s 36th birthday. I first became aware of him in 2005 when he starred with Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain, a movie which I could identify with since I had been a closeted gay male growing up in the wild, wild west of South Texas.

While at Wikipedia, I clicked on the link to Jake Gyllenhaal to see what he’d been up to and discovered that he starred as Donnie Darko in the 2001 movie Donnie Darko. I have not seen Donnie Darko for some strange reason because it sounds like my type of movie. I was familiar with it, though, because of the soundtrack. One of the songs from the soundtrack, “Mad World,” was made famous by Adam Lambert on the 2009 season of “American Idol.” I had already been familiar with “Mad World” because it was written and sung originally by Tears for Fears on their 1983 album, “The Hurting,” and I had a complete collection of Tears for Fears’ music. Adam Lambert, however, said that he didn’t know about Tears for Fears’ version, instead having heard the Gary Jules version from Donnie Darko. Thus I had to go have a listen to the Gary Jules version.

I like all three versions. Each has a unique something that makes it work. So here they are. Have a listen. Later today, I’m watching Donnie Darko.

Tears for Fears, 1983

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Gary Jules, 2001

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Adam Lambert, 2009

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (8-10-15)—It’s a very, very mad world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I have been trying to watch one movie each day. Surprisingly it’s a lot easier to do since I canceled cable TV back in September 2012. I used to turn on the TV to watch a movie, and as someone more famous than me said,

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m in a dystopian/science fiction movie mood lately, having watched just this month things like

“Brave New World” from 1980
“A.I. Artificial Intelligence” from 2001
“Equilibrium” from 2002
“Aeon Flux” from 2005
“Babylon A.D.” from 2008

I even watched all three movies from “The Hunger Games” franchise and am looking forward to the fourth movie scheduled to hit theaters in November. Since I don’t go to theaters, though, and don’t rent movies, I probably won’t see it until Summer 2016.

Whenever I watch a movie and am intrigued by actors and actresses whom I know nothing about, I turn to Wikipedia to track down their filmography. Jake Gyllenhaal is one such actor. I first became aware of him in “October Sky” from 1999, then “Brokeback Mountain” from 2005 but never kept up with him after that.

He’s got quite an extensive filmography for a 34-year-old actor, and one of the movies is “Donnie Darko” from 2001. He starred in it along with Maggie Gyllenhaal (his sister), Patrick Swayze, and Drew Barrymore. The soundtrack is music from various groups that I am quite familiar with, such as Tears for Fears, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division, Pantera, and INXS. The song for the closing credits was by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews, “Mad World.” I was familiar with the song by Tears for Fears but not the very haunting, piano version by Jules & Andrews. Here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I did like the movie.

For everything about the movie, see the Wikipedia entry for “Donnie Darko.”

Here’s the original “Mad World” by Tears for Fears from 1983:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post