Thursday, 30 September 2010

FAQ- Sleep Paralysis

 The FAQs of Sleep Paralysis


Yo followers, thanks for your continued support. This post is about Sleep Paralysis, which is something that has affected me for a few years now. Creepy/Interesting shit y'all.

Q. So what actually is sleep paralysis?
A. In one line, it’s like your mind has woken up but your body has not.

Q. So you can’t move?
A. Not whatsoever. You feel completely paralyzed. It is a genuinely scary thing when you put your entire mind into turning your body over, but just nothing happens at all no matter how hard you ‘think’ about doing it.

Q. But you can see everything?
A. The seeing part is odd. It is like you are looking at your room in a dream-like state. It’s like your eyes are only ¼ concentrating on the job of looking around you, so when you finally come to your memory of what your room looked like is hazy and you have no sense of time for how long you were ‘paralyzed’ for- but you can definitely ‘sense’ everything in it. Oh, and then there’s the hallucinations.

Q. Hallucinations?
A. Oh yes. I have heard of people getting visual hallucinations, and indeed they seem pretty common. People have seen things moving in the darkness, reflections of things on mirrors, even things sitting on their chest- just in the corner of their eyes. It’s not trippy colours or anything like that- it’s more like your dreams (or nightmares more often) spilling over into your room.
I in particular get aural hallucinations. Whispering, voices, things moving, even heavy breathing right in my ear. When this is coupled with the feeling of things touching you, it can get pretty damn scary. It is usually for me a sudden burst of this sense of fear that snaps me out of sleep paralysis, and back to being awake.

Q. Hang on, when you are ‘paralyzed’ surely you know what has happened, you know you will be ok, and you know what you see/hear/feel isn’t real?
A. It doesn’t work like that perfectly in practice. I can vaguely remember the first time sleep paralysis happened to me, and it was honestly horrible and shocked me for the rest of the day (I was about 15). Now though I do have a vague feeling of control over the situation, but that never stops the slight feeling of panic that is always present. When the hallucinations begin though, this feeling of panic goes into overdrive- there is very little I can do to stop that bit. Waking up covered in a cold sweat is commonplace.

Q. Sounds shit bro.
A. That’s not a question.

Q. Is it that shit?
A. Well, nah I suppose I can deal with it better than that last bit reads. It can be scary, but it’s similar to when I was 5 and had nightmares in terms of scariness.

Q. Is it ever pretty cool? Like you lying there and just watching someone?
A. Well as I say, I’m never really 100% ‘watching’, because my brain is sorta half asleep I guess. It’s only cool in a sorta ‘now I know what it’s like to be totally disabled and a shut-in way’. That and the ‘I can now write a fairly cool blog post’ type of cool.
Q. Ever think of ghosts?
A. Actually I watched a film a bit ago about some woman who kept getting raped by ghosts (classic date movie), and a lot of what happened to her could be put down to sleep paralysis and the touching hallucination bit.
EDIT: Film was called ‘The Entity’. Actually it was fairly cool. Ghosts getting’ girls, chillin’, bein’ trapped in ice etc

Q. When does this happen then?
A. For me, usually in the morning. It has happened a couple of times when I wake up from a dream in the middle of the night.

Q. And how frequent?
A. Often I get it when I am sleeping in a bed for the first time, have a bad sleeping pattern, and sometimes when I have a dream about sleep paralysis, it immediately merges into it and becomes real at the end.

Q. Daddy or Chips?
A. Give a man chips and he will eat for a day. Give a man Daddy, and his chips will be supplied to him regularly.

Q. What the fuck was that last question?
A. Ask it to everyone. There were riots in the UK because of it. Chips went uneaten, Daddys became lonely. Do research.

Q. What the fuck is this post even turning into?
A. That is all. Goodbye.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Travel Tuesday- Calling all Eastern Europeans/Eastern European Opinions


I for one, love Eastern Europe. It was so different to how anyone pictures it, in pretty much every possible way.

But- I call on you all loyal readers, to tell me ANYTHING you know about ANYTHING to do with Eastern Europe. If you're from there, tell me where, tell me what it's like, tell me how you think it is different, tell me what your neighbouring countries are like, or what Western Europe countries are like.

all of you get in here!

If you aren't Eastern European, if you would just empty your brain into the comments box on everything you know, or what you think, of any East European state.

Future blogs will go over my experiences throughout each country, and your views on what to address would be amazing.


Sunday, 26 September 2010

The perfect review? Transformers 2

I hope at some point to write detailed and intelligent reviews on this blog.

If they turn out to be half as good as this, I will be delighted:

See you tomorrow for some MS Paint guides for neckbeards, I believe tomorrow's topic will be Nights Out.

The Neckbeard.

Sport Sunday- How to stream/watch live football/other sport on your computer for free

The amount of times I have desperately Googled ‘FREE LIVE STREAMING’ or ‘LIVE FOOTBALL STREAM’ etc is becoming silly now. The fact is that pretty much every single sports event that ever will take place, you can access via the internet- even if it’s not on your own domestic TV channels. 
Living the dream
 Hopefully this guide (prepared after years of searching), will help you get you the live sports you want. Also I will use absolute layman’s terms throughout the article. This guide is for beginners.

There are essentially 2 ways of watching the sport you want.
1.      By downloading a viewer, which uses torrent-style technology to get you what you want
2.      By finding an online link directly for the match

1.      For this, you will first need a viewer. You are able download a viewer for free- so don’t bother with those shitty ads telling you that you can get them ‘cheap’. For 80% of cases, all you will need is Sopcast . Other alternatives include TVAnts, TVUPlayer, PPMate, PPLive, PPStream, Feidian, TVKoo, Mysee, UUSee, Coolstreaming, QQLive
When you fire these up, you will invariably be met with two screens, sorta stuck together- a list on one. The list is of channels you can attempt to view.

Note regarding the channels:
a)      they are often mislabelled as to what is on
b)      check if they are on-air or not
c)      if you are looking for a popular sports event, sort by audience watching. Lots of people = popular event

Sopcast in all its glory
The technology used is peer-to-peer. Practically what this means is that it is going to be sucking up a hell of a lot of your bandwidth, so close all instances of the internet you have up.
Often this technique is hit and miss due to problems in translating, but conversely due to the technology used, the more popular the event, the better quality the feed will be.

2.      Finding a site is much simpler in terms of what you need, but can be very difficult to hunt down. The best site I found was IraqGoals, but this has now been down for around 4 days.
In its absence I am told that, Veetle and especially  FromSport are reliable choices.
Sometimes these sites will run their streams through a Sopcast sorta program. In that case, load the website on IE, not Firefox. They will only work on IE.

not this type of Iraq goal

Best of luck team, let me know how it goes, or if you have any tips yourself.

Of course alternately, you could just go to a bar and watch it there (bars pay like £10,000 to have Sky Sports put in, or something similarly obscene- they need all the help they can get).

The Neckbeard.

Maps, Satire and International Opinion- perfect

Proper update on how to watch football matches/other less important sport on your laptop coming later today, but briefly I must direct you to this amazing site, Mapping Stereotypes

It contains a series of maps of Europe based on stereotypical opinions:

Europe according to USA:

Europe according to France:

Europe according to Germany:

Europe according to Italy:

Europe according to Bulgaria:

Europe according to Britain:

As I say, check the site out. As someone who has travelled round Europe a couple of times, opinions of other nations within the continent always fascinated me.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Alone in Russia

The following is my piece for a local travel journalism rag. Please excuse the lack of actual travel journalism.

On February 2nd 1959 nine experienced mountain hikers set up camp in the Ural mountain range in central USSR. When they made no contact with their base camp at the expected time 10 days later, a rescue mission was launched. Eventually their camp was found, but the rescuers had inadvertently walked into a situation reminiscent of a horror movie. 
Something had forced these experienced campers slash open their tents from the inside in temperatures of -30 Celsius at approximately 3am, and run into the night absolutely hysterical. Following the tracks brought the rescuers to the bodies of all nine hikers. Six had died of hypothermia, the other three of injuries from impacts so powerful that reporters at the time compared it to a 'car crash'. One of the hikers was missing a tongue. Two of the hikers had attempted at some point to return to the camp, but their staggered inaccurate paths suggested both had been blinded. The only tracks in the area were those of the dead. An investigation into the deaths, today known as the 'Dyatlov Pass Incident' drew a blank.

Flash-forward and I am stumbling alone through a Russian forest – although thankfully not the same as the doomed hikers half a century before- with only an empty water bottle for company. Although the early afternoon, the thin trees thickly populated block out any daylight. Into my brain starts to leak the Western perception of Russia, a vast land where nothing is really as it seems and nothing has the lasting consequences of our own lives. Dyatlov Pass Incidents happen daily, radiation causes small insects in rural Russia to mutate and swell, abandoned children being raised by animals in forests just like the one surrounding me are common. My car, parked with my two road-tripping friends sitting inside listening to Russian radio, getting further out of my mind with every step.

Russia is filled with these foreboding woodlands, the majority of which are untouched. Admittedly every five minutes of walking, some sign of human life would appear- although rarely would it be any more than a broken bottle, or a long dead fire. Nothing else- no plastic bags, footprints, let alone paths. 

After my car had juddered to a halt in front of several inquisitive and opportunist berry-sellers around forty-five minutes from St Petersberg, with the engine coolant light flickering. A Russian with a good grasp of English is impossible to find in Russia- so different to the countries we passed through in Scandinavia, and also to the Baltic States which we would later travel through. Eventually Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award knowledge took over, and after a brief game of ‘fives’ to decide who would go in search of the necessary water for the engine, I stepped into the tree-line which bordered the road on both sides, and had done since we had passed over the chaotic border some half-hour before.

Desolation among these trees and stomping over thick brambles is very different to desolation in a wide open space. I used the word ‘surrounding’ before as to how my relationship with the trees was, but after losing sight and sound of the road the word ‘suffocated’ would be more truthful, having no human contact amidst wilderness which has sat untouched for decades, even centuries. The Russian lifestyle for centuries has been seen to be one of a powerful sense of individualism, a perception strongly at odds with the communist ideology associated with the state for the majority of its modern history. When we would finally get into the remarkable city of St Petersburg, things taken for granted in England (where we see ourselves as very reserved) such as walking hand in hand, friendly chatter, and even smiling were not to be found. That is not to say that Russians are unfriendly, but they seem to pride themselves on being self-sufficient. In their history they have always been separatist, they have always tried to handle things alone. It is hard to think of a more resilient people.

Indeed, hermits and reclusive people have been idolised in the Russian system. Rumours to this day persist that a Tsar of the country had escaped his position to become a lonely hermit, Theophan the Recluse was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church after a life spent alone from distraction, not to mention the wealth of Russian academics who distance themselves from popularity- ranging from scientists to grandmasters.

As I finally tripped my way to the small stream gestured to me by a particularly short berry-picker, I heard clear footsteps perhaps some twenty yards behind me. I froze. When I was 10 my parents started working more shifts, leaving me alone in my house. Every single creak I heard, because I was alone, must have been a burglar or ghost, I logically deduced at the time. 11 years later, having never seen a single spook, let alone a trespassing drug addict eyes boggling at my favourite toys, this situation reminded me of that. I turned swiftly to find…nothing at all. I was still alone in this wood. The creaking ‘footsteps’ I can only assume was wind, or maybe even an animal. I realised that my main feeling was not of relief, but more disappointment that nobody, be they friend, foe, or creature of Russian urban legend, had bothered giving me the time to follow me into this dark, claustrophobic loneliness.

My relief arrived when I stepped back out into the July sunshine to see my car, complete with other people sitting awaiting my return. Due to myths and false perceptions, going to Russia is seen as going through Alice’s Looking-glass where the lonely are the happy and the absurd is the norm. Russians are different, that much is true, but if my voyage into the forest taught me anything, it is that loneliness and separation from others is a universal and instinctive thing- not one that follows ideological barriers.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Hopefully this blog will cover anything I spend my time thinking about- yet not become the circlejerk or preposterously pretentious that so many blogs become.

Literature, travel, international thinking, politics, history and sport are my bag, as well as self-improvement and comedy. Hopefully you share enough of these to come back regularly.

Coming tomorrow: my account of being alone in a Russian forest near St Petersburg (breaking the pretentious rule already?)

Ps. One thing I hate in life is a blog which is very sporadically updated. Even if it is only a couple of lines- I promise that this one shall remain regularly topped-up with things of interest.