26 March 2010

25 March 2010

aerophobia part 4

I've been having flying-related dreams lately. At least every few nights (that I'm able to remember). Last night's was particularly vivid and seemed to span the entire night. Interestingly, none of them have been negative. Last night's was positively wonderful and made me wish upon waking that it had been real.

All good signs, I think.

When I was a teenager a high school friend called Matt drove me to a nearby town in his little beater car using the interstate. He drove some portion of the trip around 100 miles per hour. It scared the holy living hell out of me. I figure flying can't possibly be scarier than that.

19 March 2010

aerophobia part 3

I bought a plane ticket. Flying late next month. No turning back now!

I am now considering my options for how to mitigate any fear and anxiety I might feel. (Strangely - in a good way - I'm not really feeling any at all so far. Strange because in the past, even thinking about maybe doing it - and certainly looking at buying a ticket - elicited some major anxiety.) Self-hypnosis recordings? Learning relaxation techniques? Drugs? (I'm going to try to avoid going that far.)

Supposedly in my aversion to flying I join "famous aviatophobics" such as Isaac Asimov, David Bowie, Robert Smith, Megan Fox (who?), John Madden, and Whoopi Goldberg.

04 March 2010

Creepy 1969 IHOP commercial

Apparently this is how it actually aired, with that incredibly creepy music and demented chipmunk singing voice. Sounds like something out of some insane carnival than a place to take the family for a heart-attack breakfast.

aerophobia, part 2

Continuing on my earlier post about my almost thirty-year-old fear of flying.

I'm not sure if this is a feature of other people who have struggled with anxiety - I believe from some conversation with friends that it might be - but what I do when I'm not feeling anxious is to "test" myself; that is, to see if I can make myself feel anxious. Sort of like when you've got a sore spot, maybe you poke at it to see if it still hurts. One thing most psychologists will tell you about anxiety is that people who have ever suffered from it actually have issues with being anxious about the anxiety. For me, this means that when I've been feeling fine, I start to get anxious about the fact that I know eventually I will get anxious again. For me, this has mostly subsided; I had some major anxiety issues in 2007 and 2008, which wrecked some havoc in my life; I had some issues with it last year but started to really try to actually deal with it, and since then - especially in the last few months - have been completely anxiety free, with almost no trace of any feelings related to it, for the first time since 2007. (This of course hasn't taken care of anxieties about real life issues, such as flying.) But because humans often like to make themselves miserable and upset, I started reading about flying phobia horror stories.

I found that it wasn't really bothering me. So I pressed on.

One thing a friend of mine told me about his fear of flying is that he'd get terribly anxious when he went to buy a plane ticket. So I went to the site of an airline and started playing around, putting in flights, making itineraries, reading about what to expect at the airport. And I found that I was only mildly anxious. Not even anxious, really, just a sort of "normal" fear, rational in the sense that I have just never been in the air before. There's some trepidation still there, and I'm sure some anxiety, but the lack of any strong feeling of it was surprising. I also found I felt kind of...giddy? Excited at the idea of even being inside an airport, being on an escalator, hearing the thing that tells me time to board, etc. (What can I say? I'm a big kid sometimes and am easily amused/excited.) The fearful and anxiety-ridden experience I thought I'd barely be able to endure has turned into something that I might even find exciting. And I was really expecting to be strongly anxious and trepidatious about it. I ALWAYS had in the past, even just thinking about flying freaked me out. Let alone actually reading about it or "testing" it (I'd never gotten to the point of even starting to do any of that.) I was even warning people that I'd probably chicken out or end up spending a large amount of money to run to the doctor and hide behind medication.

It's hard to understand. Changes happen, but it is sometimes surprising to suddenly find that I've changed. It's tempting to think that I haven't really changed much at all, and that it will all hit the fan eventually. But that thought/feeling hasn't had much traction with me lately. I always felt very skeptical of people talking about their personality improvements and life changes; seeing it through the lens of my own life, in which I've always felt I was a good person but was far too easily at the whim of an anxious, insecure, impulsive personality, I felt maybe I'd never be able to get rid of that stuff (and my skepticism about someone being able to truly change probably hindered it). I've known that I'd started to finally grow up. Last year was so completely awful in so many ways, and a months long wave of "bad luck" and upset pushed my personality to the limit, and made me start to really have to think about making real changes. In my past, I might find ways to work around it or sweep it under the rug. Events of the recent past didn't allow this. I'd felt "different", especially since the new year, and felt - in that often nebulous, unsure way - that I was actually truly changing, but my resolution to get over my fear of flying has given me a more "real" example of how I might have changed. And also some hope and confidence that I can continue to make positive changes in other parts of my life and improvements to my personality.


I've never been on a plane. People who know me know this already, and people who don't know me very well and find this out are always shocked. I'm afraid of flying. I don't know if this is a result of some actual psychological phobia/fear or just a result of me having never done it. Probably a mixture of the two. (I know I'm afraid of heights, which I was reminded of a few months ago when I got in my boss' boom lift, which is a little crane thing on wheels; it went 120 feet in the air. At about 100 feet, I lost the ability to speak.) I'll be 30 later this year, and I don't want to turn 30 having never flown. Also, there are places I'd like to go that will require flying (and possibly I'll have to fly for work, which gives me little choice in the matter). So I've started the process of getting myself ready for the experience. Which may happen as soon as next month.

I always told people that when I'm about to finally fly, I'm just going to be very medicated. That option is still on the table (and I recommended a particular medication to one of my good friends who is also afraid of flying, and he confirmed its effectiveness), but I am a bit wary of taking drugs to help me; for one thing, I don't like the precedent that it might set - I don't want to basically circumvent getting over my fear simply by using medication, unless I find I simply must - and having some experience with those types of medication, I'm not thrilled at the idea of taking them again. So I'm trying to feel my way around. So far, I've started really reading about flying and flying phobias, coping mechanisms, etc. I will admit that it has made me very anxious; I had a dream earlier in the week about flying that woke me up slightly anxious, which turned into a very brief anxiety attack. Reading about flying, at first, made me very anxious. It seems to be subsiding, though. At least to an extent. And my feelings of excitement about flying are starting to cut through a bit. At the moment, I'm pretty adamant about being able to do it without any aides besides coping tips and techniques. (Like walking around barefoot and making fists with my toes; thanks, Die Hard!) My plan is, within the next few weeks, to make some actual plans and purchase a ticket (and once I throw down my money, I've pretty much passed the point of no return). So this is going to be a mini saga for me. On one side, I'm still admittedly a bit terrified and I'm even meta-terrified - I'm anxious and afraid of the fact that I will probably feel anxious and afraid. On another side, I feel somewhat like a little kid about to do something neat. I'm not sure the more positive side is going to get very close to winning - at least not on my first time - but I'm hoping to at least keep it well on the scale.

Devil's Wear Prague

A hilarious resume from an "actor"/extra, via BRTE:

Page 72

Via Reddit

03 March 2010

The Monster Engine

The Monster Engine is a website/book showcasing an artist who has taken children's surreal and fantastical drawings and turned them into realistic artistic pieces. Very interesting. Also a fun reminder that children's imaginations are quite wild.

A couple of my favorite examples:

02 March 2010

France: Ta Gueule!

Via WSJ: Mon Dieu! Will Newfound Popularity Spoil the Dainty Macaron? Macarons New Popularity Worries Fans.

Apparently in France, people can now buy macarons at places like Starbucks and McDonalds ("McCafe"). This is pissing the French off.

"Macarons are not meant to be mainstream," sniffs Laetitia Brock, a native of Paris who has been blogging about French culture from Washington for the past six years.[...] "I saw them at the McCafé on the Champs-Élysées—just down the street from Ladurée! What is the world coming to?!?" commented Allison Lightwine, using the screen name La Mom.

Okay. This sort of thing might be why people make fun of (and in some cases, strongly dislike) the French. I mean, Jesus Christ, we can't have common folk eating macarons with their lattes at Starbucks! These things are too good for those types of people! Casse-toi!


What will Barbie be next?

01 March 2010

Great Music Videos or Grestest Music Videos?

Jesus god in heaven. And there's more.

Light bladder leakage is no laughing matter.

Ask Whoppi Goldberg.

(There are about seven more of these, all ridiculous.)

(This doesn't mean I'm making fun of a problem that a great number of people have, and that is no laughing matter. I'm making fun of Whoppi Goldberg.)

(Via NyMag)

Law degree for sale, $59,250

(Via AboveTheLaw.com)

After several years of practicing law I have come to the conclusion that my law degree is useless and I don't want to be a lawyer anymore...This priceless collectible will permit you to be surrounded by hobby-less assholes whose entire life is dictated by billing by the hour and being anal dickheads...

Hilarious. Supposedly this is actually real.