You Better Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, Top40 Music Is Bad For Your Health

I try to be a good person.

The Red Cross kept calling my house asking me to donate blood – again and again and again. To the point where I was like: you knowwhat do I have to lose? I’m O+. Why not donate and save a life? I hadn’t donated since high school.

So I made an appointment online – for today. Easy.

I was really excited about it too; I wrote it on the family calendar, kept bringing it up in conversation: “You know, I’m donating blood this month”.

My dad comes home from work and I ask if he could take me earlier (my appointment was scheduled for 7…and I didn’t want to miss Allison Weiss’ StageIt show).

I didn’t drink any caffeine today (I am now btw). I drank nothing but water, ate 2 pork cutlets and had a nice slice of vegan pumpkin pie for lunch (for iron), and got a good night’s sleep.

So we get to the Red Cross, go through registration and now the “nurse” starts to take my vitals. He’s very disgruntled and mumbly. I can’t understand a word he’s saying, but I can see he’s ticked he can’t just scan my donor card. Turns out it’s not working because I haven’t given blood in over 5 years.

He looks at my license and quickly inputs all my information, confirming it in his mumbly voice. He’s making me very uncomfortable. Meanwhile, there’s Top40 playing in the background, and if anyone has listened to the radio in the past 7 years, you know the tempo has been getting faster and faster, beats becoming more and more emphatic.

He takes my temp, a blood sample for iron, then takes my pulse. He’s says it’s too high. Takes it again. Still too high. I tell him maybe I’m a little nervous. I haven’t given blood in awhile. Takes my blood pressure. He claims it’s 140/80. WHAT?! My blood pressure is never that high. It’s always 120/something. “It’s the music,” I say. He looks at my like I’m high as a kite. I said, “I’m serious”. The room is thumping with Top40 radio as background noise. Plus, there’s been studies done that when you listen to music your heart rate synchronizes to the beat and the rhythm. You even think rhythmically.

He looked at me like I was insane.

He ignores my comment and says, “Are you on any medication?” “No,” I answered. “Are you suuuuuure? Birth control?” he stresses. “No,” I admit. He has another guy take my pulse. He says it’s 102 and it needs to be under 100 to give. Try again. Goodbye. Game over. I’m done.

Guys, I was so pissed. I just wanted to save a life, wanted to give back to the community! And I’m telling you, had they been playing spa music, Beatles, Enya even – My pulse would have been fine! How am I supposed to keep a low heart rate to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, Maroon 5’s Animal, or other Top40 garBAGE? (Taylor Swift is actually okay. Just not the tempo for this point in time)

I guess the next time I make an appointment, I’ll be sure to do a thorough peace and serenity mediation before I leave the house.

Day 21: Build On Your New-To-You Format Post, and Let the World Know

Last week I posted a video of me covering “Failure By Design” by Brand New.

With that said, I’d like to tell you about a dream I recently had. The dream itself is not so much “inspired” by the above post but is connected to Brand New, however small that connection is. Plus, it’s slightly hilarious and I really wanna share it with you.

Two nights ago at about 5 am, I practically bolted out of bed with really bad cramps. You know that subconscious state you’re half in, half out of when it’s late at night and you’re in pain? You toss and turn and debate with yourself whether or not to fully take off the covers and get up, or if you can away with forcing yourself to fall back asleep? Well, I was in one of those states.

After taking pills and grabbing a hot water bottle I did my best to soothe myself back to sleep but just couldn’t do it. I was wired, but still had a shroud of dream-vision around me. I’m closing my eyes, trying to find a comfortable position, and now my mind is racing. I couldn’t tell you why it was. I’m not undergoing any unusual amount of stress, but this has happened to me before – My racing mind won’t stop and I begin to formulate a meaningless scenario in my head that is preposterous and unlikely in its own right, but I stress about as though it is a real-life, conscious event that I need to make an immediate decision about.

Before I went to bed I watched a few episodes of Frasier. I TiVo it on the regular. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time. The writing is so genius and the acting so fantastic, each episode is real treat. After finishing up 3 or 4 of them, I went upstairs and continued to listen to Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon. I had started listening to the album that afternoon and wanted to finish it up before I went to bed. And so I did.

My stress/anxiety/mind-racing dream consisted of me having to make a pertinent decision: I had to incorporate Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey into an episode of Frasier. I’m embarrassed to say I must’ve spent at least 45 minutes freaking out about it in my subconscious state. I could see the set of Frasier’s apartment and Jesse Lacey standing near the piano a grey/beige long-sleeved shirt – and I had to figure out what to do with him! What would he do? What would he say for his special guest appearance?!

This quasi-lucid dream drove me out of my mind, nevermind the fact I was seriously trying to pair these two unlikely people together (Jesse+Frasier BFF 4E). And it was slightly lucid because I knew I was dreaming! I knew I was in control, but the lines between dream and reality were so blurred because I was so stressed. And instead of changing the scenario and choosing to dream something else, I stayed with it and participated in a hellish perpetual loop. The day before, I had read an article on lucid dreaming in The Atlantic, which no doubt contributed to this strange occurrence.

I actually completely forgot I had this dream until yesterday evening when I went for a walk; It popped back into my head and everything came flooding back.

I have a strange mind, I know this. It’s just all so funny to me. Why does this sort of thing happen? Sleep is supposed to be peaceful and regenerative. Why do our minds create absurdity and why do we allow ourselves to become overly anxious about it? One response could be I have difficulty with decision making (which I admit I do) and so my psyche is attempting to resolve that difficulty to get past that paralysis. Another could be the lack of decisions I’ve had to make in the waking world, so my mind is creating it’s own scenarios in which I must play a role in determining their outcomes. I could go on.

Has anyone else had a half-conscious stress dream like this? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear! 🙂

Jesse Lacey
Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey
Dr. Frasier Crane

How to Blow Your Nose in Public

It’s January, it’s cold – it’s cold and flu season. Coughs, sniffles, sore throat, runny nose, phlegm and mucus – Who’s hungry?

I don’t mean to unceremoniously sound the alarm (or honk my horn for that matter), but this is a issue I’ve been debating for a few weeks now as I unattractively stumble down the New York City streets with tears streaming down my face (which later transform into baby icicles) and my nose running like it has its own train to catch. Sometimes I ashamedly bury my face in my scarf trying to breathe some life into the numb, frostbitten lower half of my face while casually hiding the fact that I have Flubber coming through my nostrils. What’s worse I can’t even feel the swamp that resides over my upper lip because of these polar temperatures! My hand are two blocks of ice buried in two layers of gloves and as I blindly reach for an already used tissue in my jacket pocket, my headphones pop out of my phone and I being to juggle dabbing my rose, replugging in my headphones, and attempting to access my all-touchscreen phone to replay the music I was listening to. On occasion I’ll throw in a little balance challenge because I’m maneuvering through snowy and icy New York in sneakers. But I have to say when it all comes down to it, I end up trudging down 7th Ave doing the best I can, hoping no one is looking at me, praying I don’t run into anyone I know. How many more days ’til Spring?

Last week I was on the PATH heading down to Christopher St. and the time came – I had to blow my nose during a semi-rush hour on public trans. I couldn’t breathe right and I could feel that all too familiar trickle…Well out comes my tissue and the dirty looks I got, GWORL LET ME TELL YOU! If you ever needed to part a crowd, blowing your nose and maybe screaming, “Oh my God, I’m gonna throw up!” will probably get the job done. You feel everyone’s eyes squint at you in disgust as they minimally shuffle away and then avert their eyes to judge you as discreetly as possible. So that’s when I put my Ego aside, tuck my consciousness in the right-hand drawer in my head, and put a blindfold over my feelings. Listen, honey – I don’t blow my nose to look pretty. The noisy clearing of my sinus and nasal cavities is not the new mating call and never will be. I mean, would you rather I just let it slide down my face? But I know as soon as I sound I’m automatically labeled as a diseased, germ-carrying, terminally ill rat. But the best part is when roles are reversed, I’m disgustedly shuffling away from you too. I don’t want your disease. Ew, gross!

I’ve often wondered what the hell the proper nose-blowing etiquette is. It’s too loud and messy to be polite in any way, shape, or form. Ick! A 6-year-old Yahoo! article says it should be done quietly in private with your own tissues and with washing your hands afterwards. Oh yeah and don’t look at the tissue…Like that needs to be said. Well luckily I check out on all of these – when I’m comfortably settled in somewhere like at home, except at home I could be as loud as I want. But when I’m on the street in the blistering cold, what then?! Where shall we turn? Is there a savior among us commoners who could potentially save the human race from the future embarrassment from blowing their nose in public?