The Great Train Robbery Dream (Latin Remix)

On a whim, I copied and pasted my last blog entry into Google Translate, translated it into Latin, then translated it back into English. This is what I ended up with. I find it amusing and oddly pretty.

We woke up from a long, wonderful dream I want to write.

Morrow was here, late 19th century after the Civil War. Was to obtain a more west. But just the rich, who had power over many and cruel is the woman doing uses according to his own profit. My brother and sister-in-law decided to group as a part of me, who with all the power of the County of theft and the woman taking it up in other places. A brother of his friend in some way to be able to switch engine and engine drivers for his train, while he was in the army on the march. (Causes of the color of which is never very clearly was here. Read more purple, that symbolic of something.) As he was a late train, understood what they thought about that woman was hijacked (by a purple steam engine, which is his final insult) and of all wealth and power was gone. Welcome yielded said?

The train was brought to New Mexico in a small city, which is turned into a colony for artists, writers, inventors of free thinkers. The town had no more the government or the like. The results of our news came that the publisher/editor, who also when your orator, Mexico and pure American (making him into the country for the most part). An old man had been the effect of the cathedral in the city is converted labyrinthine display space and a place for painters, sculptors, actors, and musicians here. Multi-ethnic and multi-cultural people of the town, which the Caucasian, African-American, American, Asia, the Hispanic and Native American. We seemed to be with all.

My brother and sister-in-law into the town but I’d definitely moves with some friends for a lion to him, looking at the West more. Wishes in the bow, George Takeo, even he had said, and set me to move the de facto replacement, making me head of the town. I am honored, I could not help but to think, “Wouldn’ta popular to be better governance of this art, free thinking town? Hence, in this way better than the rich empire of things?” Rich n the way the woman controlled things? “

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The Great Train Robbery Dream

I just woke up from a long, strange dream that I want to write down.

It was the mid-to-late 19th century, after the Civil War. I was a passenger on a train heading west. On the train was a rich, cruel woman who had power over many people and used it to make them suffer for her own profit. I was part of a group that included my brother and sister-in-law who decided to take power from the woman by stealing the entire train and taking it somewhere else. My brother and some friends were somehow able to switch their own engine for the engine driving the train–while the train was on its journey. (For reasons that were never made clear, the color of the engine was very important. Our engine was purple, which was symbolic of something.) When it was too late to do anything about it, the woman realized the train had been hijacked (by a purple steam engine, which was the final insult to her) and all of her wealth and power was gone. She’d been foiled!

The train was taken to a small city in New Mexico, which had been turned into a colony for artists, writers, inventors and free thinkers. The town had no mayor or government as such. The police reported to the newspaper publisher/editor, who was also the trade negotiator with Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (making him the most powerful man in town). An old cathedral in town had been converted into a labyrinthine display space and performance space for painters, sculptors, actors, musicians and dancers. The people of the town were multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, being Caucasian, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic and Native American. Everyone seemed to get along with everyone else.

My brother and sister-in-law were in town, but they’d decided to move out to California with some friends, looking for further opportunities on the West Coast. The newspaper editor, George Takei, had also decided to move on and had named me as his replacement, making me the de facto head of the town. I was honored, but I couldn’t help thinking, “Wouldn’t a democratic government be better for this artistic, free-thinking town? How is this better than the way the rich woman controlled things?”

Walking in Eternity

I have some things running around in my head to blog about, but my attention and energy has mostly been focused elsewhere. So in the meantime, as a companion piece to my post about my passionate, undying love for Doctor Who, here’s an outstanding video with clips from every episode of the show ever (and then some)!

If watching this doesn’t send happy chills up and down your spine…well, you’re clearly not me.

After the Blackout

The best results I’ve seen of yesterday’s “internet blackout” to protest SOPA and PIPA? The Oatmeal’s brilliant anti-SOPA/PIPA animation (featuring a koala and a goat having sexy times) got mainstream news coverage and it appears that the blackout actually had a positive effect in turning more people (including politicians) against SOPA and PIPA.

Of course, correlation does not equal causation, so to the best of my knowledge, we can’t definitively say the blackout was successful. But all in all, I still think it was worth doing.

If we do at least accept the possibility that the blackout helped turn the tide against SOPA and PIPA, do I think my blog had a hand in that? Nope. I’ve seen my blog’s stats and there’s no way I could bring about any kind of serious change here. So why did I do it?

I was raised to never cross a picket line and to always honk your car horn when driving past a worker’s strike, to show solidarity for the strikers. I blacked out my site for the same reason: to help show my solidarity for the main strikers (Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, etc). I also did it as a personal reminder to myself to take further action, like contacting my representatives and telling them why I think it’s important for them to vote against SOPA and PIPA.

It’s also important to keep contacting your reps and campaigning against SOPA and PIPA. Who knows how much good that will do? The MPAA and RIAA have far more money and power than the rest of us. But some representatives have already reversed their support, so I’m optimistic enough to think more change is possible.

This wasn’t a one-day thing. The fight continues. Let’s keep going and do what we can.

The Hundred Acre Subconscious

I just remembered that back in college, I would often describe myself by saying, “Sometimes I’m Tigger, sometimes I’m Piglet and sometimes I’m Eeyore.” It only just occurred to me that when I was describing myself that way, I was naming my depressive state (Eeyore), my anxious state (Piglet) and my mindset when I’m free of anxiety and depression (Tigger).

Gee, I wish I’d understood that back then.

Still Ill

Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body ?
I dunno…

— The Smiths

One summer during my middle school years, I had to mow the lawn at my dad’s house. My father was a big believer in kids starting on regular household chores as young as possible, and he had all of us kids rotate through mowing the lawn, washing dishes, doing the family laundry and so on. It was my turn to mow the lawn, and the lawn mower was out of gas, so I had to refill the tank. Which naturally left my hands smelling of gasoline. By the time I finished mowing the lawn, the smell of gasoline on my hands was really freaking me out. I was afraid to touch anything I might put in my mouth, for fear of ingesting gasoline, poisoning myself, and dying. So I washed my hands thoroughly, scrubbing them with soap. And then repeated this, as my hands still smelled of gas. And again. And again. I washed my hands over and over again, coming close to literally rubbing them raw. I was in a state of panic, and my dad finally saw this and, worried that I would scrape the skin off of my hands, rubbed them down with baby oil so that they were moisturized. The baby oil also covered up the gasoline smell, calming me down.

I was remembering this today as my hypochondria seized me once again.

I think it’s important to note: I am not a mysophobe. I don’t freak out when I’m around people with colds. I don’t worry about using public toilets. Hospitals don’t really make me nervous. I don’t use anti-bacterial products all that much. However, I’m terrified of swallowing something that will poison me slowly and I worry on an almost constant basis that my body will betray me with some insidious, internal, debilitating and possibly (or probably) fatal disease.

Cancer is the big one. Sweet kittens, do I worry about cancer! Is this headache the first sign of a brain tumor? Am I short of breath because I have lung cancer? Keep in mind, cancer doesn’t run in my family. My dad smoked almost his entire life, and while he suffers now with COPD and other health issues that are certainly related to his smoking, he doesn’t have lung cancer (or any other kind of cancer). But that doesn’t stop me from worrying I have it. (HIV is another one. For many years, I was convinced I hadn’t made it through college without contracting HIV. I was sure it was lying dormant in my body, waiting to leap out and share the everloving shit out of me, infecting everyone around me like a cartoon cloud of death.)

The reason hypochondria is so frustrating and difficult to fight is this: my hypochondria generally manifests from my generalized anxiety and it, in turn, feeds my anxiety. I can rationally reason out that I don’t really have anything serious and terminal, but my anxious subconscious refuses to believe it and persists in hammering my brain with terror and worry. One thing people may not know about anxiety and depression is that it’s not just a mental state. It’s not just, “Damn, I’m feeling sad and hopeless!” or, “Crap, I’m really worried about things!” There are a whole bunch of physical symptoms that come with anxiety and depression. You may not even be feeling particularly anxious or depressed, but your body still somatizes everything.

So, let’s say I get a slight pain in my lower back, and the thought flashes through my head, “OMG! IT’S KIDNEY STONES!” I can reason with myself, telling myself that I haven’t shown any other signs of kidney stones, and even if it is kidney stones, the best thing I can do right now is wait to see if things progress the way I know it should. “You’re a hypochondriac, Josh! You can’t run to the ER every time you think you have something serious!” But my subconscious says, “Oh no, you don’t! You can’t get rid of this that easily!” I start to sweat A LOT. I get a headache. I get a stomachache. I feel as if I’m running a low-grade fever. I start noticing every tiny ache in my body. I get restless and have a hard time concentrating on any one thing. My chest gets tight. My back hurts. And this panicky voice in my head keeps yelling, “DAMMIT, JOSH! YOU’RE GOING TO DROP DEAD AT ANY MINUTE!” The tectonic plates of my anxiety are rubbing together, and any minute, there’s going to be a huge quake.

Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?

Xanax calms me down, quiets the yelling voice, helps make the aches and pains go away, keeps the quake at bay. If Xanax isn’t available, I just hold on to the bucking bronco for dear life and wait for it to tire itself out.

I make a lot of jokes about being a hypochondriac. Mostly, it’s an attempt to belittle it in my own head, to deflate it, in the hopes that I can laugh it out of existence. Hypochondria is pretty funny. But it’s not fun. It’s embarrassing and demoralizing to walk around with this intense, irrational fear in my head, weighing me down like iron manacles. I’m working on trying to keep myself calm–or at least to not stoke the fires of anxiety that are already lit. It’s not easy. But…well, it’s something I have to do.

And now, hopefully, you have a little more insight into how my mind works.