Running Free

Running Free

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

I do not sleep well. Never really have. It is something I have learned to accept. I mean, I prefer to be busy and not have to be lounging around anyway. But I do need a few hours every night to refuel if you will. The challenge for me is getting to that wonderfully deep state of REM. ‘Calgon take me away...’

Imagine if you will being propped up in a nice big cloud of pillows and a few soft lights with the television in the armoire at the other end of the room perfectly positioned so really one just points and clicks and voila the magical squawk box starts squawking. There am I on my side of our California King and my husband is on ‘his’ side and usually in charge of the remote control. For good reason as will become clear in a moment.

“He who shall not be named” – aka my better half- recently has taken to watching a truly riveting series that makes one think. The problem is that when he is ready to sit down for a nice evening of intellectual stimulation I am ready to hit the land of feathered fluff and try and grab a few hours of hopefully uninterrupted sleep.

We both begin the evening after the dinner has been prepared and consumed, after said cherub has been bathed and has completed his homework and has been tucked safely into bed. Now here we are ensconced in our bed. Me in my extremely seductive flannels and my husband in his nightwear which shall not be named....

After a few spontaneous yawns I do a few cleansing breaths to get me to a calm and centered point and sometimes resort to planning the next day’s riveting schedule of cleaning, laundry, working and general maintenance issues. And usually, within an hour or so of truly deep thoughts I am able to sleep for a bit.

But sometimes, my brain just doesn’t want to cooperate. The old gal has a mind of her own and while my eyes are brick heavy and unable to budge; all my brain matter is full throttle all circuits open and speeding down the highway of overactive imagination and to be done lists or what to worry about now lists. It means, the brain is endless in what she decides to concoct at the end of the day. I am too busy doing something close to nothing most of the time but somehow when I am weary and looking forward to some unrequited down time- forget it. A grim outlook for sleep indeed....

Well, thanks to the efforts of my darling husband I found a cure almost a guarantee to a restful few hours of sleep. It comes in the form of a talking head and is better than any sleep aide I have ever come across. Of course a glass of wine in addition to the aforementioned talking soothing head is a most delicious combination.

I speak of a show that my husband stumbled across in his web browsing. He web browses like I window shop – but somehow my window shopping is so much more fun. To each their own- caveat emptor. With all due respect to the narrator of this riveting show called “Connections” the synapses in my brain have begun to connect much quicker to the land of slumber. I owe the man a debt of gratitude.

Without fail, as soon as the brilliance of the narrator James Burke begins his soothing explanations of why we have levees and why sand is important, I simply try and focus on what he is saying and all of the amazing factoids he is passing on. But alas, the only connection I am able to make to his impressive narrative is a one way road to a deep slumber – including – ahem- the occasional deep sounding sleep as my husband is fond of sharing with me the next morning after a restful night of sleep.

What is exactly is Connections you ask? Well, let me share....according to the all knowing websute wikipedia describes Connections as follows:

Connections was a ten-episode documentary television series created and narrated by science historian James Burke. The series was produced and directed by Mick Jackson of the BBC Science & Features Department and first aired in 1978. It took an interdisciplinary approach to the history of science and invention and demonstrates how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events built off one another in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology. The series is well-known for Burke's impeccable narration (especially its dry humour), historical reenactments, intricate working models, skillful use of classical music (most notably Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, or "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana), and shots on location as far afield as Penang (Malaysia). The popular success of the series led to two sequels, Connections² in 1994, and Connections³ in 1997, both produced for TLC.

For those you hungering for more....All three Connections documentaries are available in their entirety as DVD box sets.

And should you still be hungry for more.... Burke also wrote a series of Connections articles in Scientific American, and published a book of the same name, all built on the same theme of exploring the history of science and ideas, going back and forth through time explaining things on the way and, generally, coming back to the starting point.

A Myst-style computer game with James Burke and others providing video footage and voice acting was released in 1995.

Burke produced another documentary series called The Day the Universe Changed in 1985, which explored man's concept of how the universe worked in a similar way to the original Connections.

Sleeping Beauty never had it so good....


Andrea said...

Oh my gosh, this was hysterical!

And it seems we have much in common-- Are you oversensitive to caffeine too? If I have anything with caffiene in it after 4 o'clock I am up until 1 am!...sigh..

In the evenings my husband is 'wired' and wants to talk about our business/etc. and if we start talking about 'work' stuff then I definitely can't fall asleep as I think about what needs to be done, or worry about finances, UGH.

I think you are on to something here--perhaps the solution is shutting out EVERYTHING that bothers us after a certain hour of the evening.

This summer while sitting at our outdoor equipment booth at the county fair (yawn) a retired farmer in overalls sat down beside me. After he quit farming, he worked at a factory in north dakota assembling some of the farm machinery we sell...I asked him how he was able to do repetitive factory work for nine hours a day and his response was so profound--

He said 'As long as you don't think about it, NOTHING can bother you. Start thinking about something too much and you will drive yourself nuts.'

Ahhhh, farmer wisdom :)

camerone said...

what a wise farmer Andrea!

Andrea said...

Yeah, I have thought of his words often, esp. in the middle of the night when I can't stop 'thinking about' all the 'stuff' that's bothering me... HA.

Loring Wirbel said...

James Burke is the narrator of Connections, but if you fall asleep watching it, you will be transported to a dream world where Mary Shelley's mom is hanging with the French Jacobins in Paris and discovering chemical gas properties with Levoissier, and you'll have a hard time figuring out where reality ends and dreams begin. Exactly as it should be.

camerone said...

Oh Loring that is priceless!!!