The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Value of Sleep

As I'm sitting here looking at the clock, I'm relieved to remind myself that I don't have to go to work tomorrow. Funny that you start appreciating the little things as you get older like sleeping late! I used to be able to stay up all night long. Not anymore! Taking a nap is something I look forward to. Maybe it's the sleep apena, but I take my sleep seriously these days.

One of the complications of having sleep apnea is that your nasal passages must be clear in order for you to use the CPAP machine. I've met two other people with sleep apnea, and we all have the same addiction to nasal sprays. I was able to be weaned off the spray sometime last year ... until I caught a cold. Then it was back to square one.

Oh sure, I could try to sleep breathing through my mouth. However, when you have sleep apnea, you tend to stop breathing, forcing your brain to wake up and kick start you back to breathing again. After a couple of those kind of nights, I would be a danger on the road. I can sleep sitting up, and sleep deprivation sneaks up on you without warning. I couldn't tell you how many times I've nodded off while sitting at my computer or watching television.

I've had some people tell me that they couldn't sleep sitting up, that they'd have to be lying down. My only response to that would be, "If you're tired enough, you'll sleep anywhere and in any position." For example, I watched "Breakpoint" on FoxNews this evening. It was one cameraman's story about his assignment as an embed with our troops invading Iraq. I listened to his story and watched the videos of our troops in action: on the job, during their breaks, and while they slept. The cameraman spoke of sleep deprivation and the toll it took on the soldiers and on themselves. One soldier was dead asleep on the hard ground in the middle of a violent sand storm. You can bet that soldier was exhausted.

From experience, I know that if I'm sleepy enough, I'll conk out anywhere. For example, I used to dread staying in a motel because their beds would be too hard for me. I'd be very uncomfortable laying on those beds, but if I was sleepy enough, I'd fall asleep. However, I usually got just enough sleep to keep from being totally exhausted. I'd wake up a couple of hours later with my back hurting from the hard bed. My mother suggested I take an air mattress with me to place on top of the mattress at the hotel. Oh man! Big difference!!! I wish I had known this before! Now when I travel, sleep comes easier for me. Of course, if I'm really desperate for sleep while traveling, I can sleep sitting up in a lounge chair, sofa, or even my vehicle if necessary. To me, they are more comfortable than a hard bed.

Before I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, I was visiting Soul Sister and her husband one weekend. It was one of those hot hazy summer afternoons, and I felt like laying in front of a fan and taking a nap. Soul Sister and her husband were drowsy themselves and dozed off on the couch in the living room. I went to my room, turned on the fan, and layed down on the air mattress atop the bed.

Next thing I know, I'm laying on my stomach on the floor looking at Soul Sister's feet as she's asking me if I'm okay. Apparently, I got too close to the edge of the mattress, the side collapsed, and I fell off the bed. The thing that still perplexes me is that I didn't wake up immediately after I hit the floor. The bed and mattress combined measured a height of 2 1/2 feet. Soul Sister and her husband heard a thud and went to investigate. She found me laying on the floor not moving. I didn't hurt myself ... well ... I did bang my right hand on the dresser as I rolled off the bed and hit the floor. I think about that incident and still can't believe it happened, but it did.

Shortly before my diagnosis, I started researching the effects of sleep deprivation. Some of the results are: memory loss, inability to concentrate, fatigue, irritability, headaches, etc. What I also discovered is that the human body will only take so much deprivation before it overrides the human will to stay awake. It could be as small as a microsleep (a period of a few seconds in which the brain goes into sleep mode despite the person's physical activity) or as serious as a sleep seizure (a longer period of time in which a person goes to sleep without warning). In other words, it will force sleep out of you if you neglect getting enough rest.

I see it's getting late, so I'll close for now. Nite! Nite!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Dealing With Loss

Within the last three years, Pierce County, Georgia lost seven young people to various accidents or crimes. The lastest tragedy involved three students from the Pierce County School system, one from the middle school, and two from the high school.

I did not know any of the people whose time was cut short by unforseen events. I do know people who were affected by those who are no longer with us.

I'm writing this entry because the latest accident involving three young teens and the father of one of them hit the community especially hard. My friend Wanda and her two daughters Becca and Christin were strongly affected.

Maci Gilleon, a student at Pierce County Middle School who personally knew the victims took the initiative to create a website and dedicate it to the memory of ALL seven victims. The site is hosted on Tripod and it is a work in progress. However, you have to admire the initiative this young lady took to try to do something positive to counteract the negative.

You can visit her site by clicking here.

Before I close this entry, I would like to request a prayer from you for the families of those whose lives were ended all too soon:

Beth Ann Raulerson
Ricky Sheffield
Amy Tatum
Kori Melissa Wynn
Mary Gaskins
Meghan Gaskins
Kelly Grady


Please say a prayer for the family of Patty Edwards. She was not a student but was the color guard coordinator for the Pierce County High School Band and the wife of Bob Edwards, the current band director for the high school.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Tyson the Skateboarding Bulldog

You have to go to this website and watch the movies! Anyone who says bulldogs are dumb or stupid hasn't seen Tyson in action. I've downloaded the movies ... they're so cool!

I'm even more impressed by how loving this bulldog is to a litter of kittens. He's like a doting mother! I've seen the pictures for myself. The site is making me rethink my attitude toward bulldogs.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Could The Tide Be Turning?

On FoxNews.com, there were two stories: one dated May 2004, and one dated July 2003 about bar and liquor store owners turning the tables on underage drinkers. The bar and liquor store owners are doing this by taking the underage offenders to court and suing them for damages. Those damages range from fines to suspended or lost liquor licenses to lost wages from stores being shut down for selling alcohol to underage drinkers. Right now, this is happening in California, but it looks like a prescedent may be set in motion.

Now, I am someone who has been on the receiving end of a lawsuit before, so I can relate. I honestly believe one should not sue unless all other options have been exhausted. However, in the case of the bar owners and liquor stores, I'm all for the lawsuits. The penalties for underage drinkers are not strong enough to truly deter them from committing the crime, and all the responsibility is heaped on the seller. As someone who has worked in convenience stores, I know first hand that underage drinkers (and smokers) will try every trick in the book to get what they want. They'll play on the cashier's/waitress's ignorance, weaknesses, ego, etc. Some will argue that the owners should be held solely accountable for letting the underage patron in. However, I believe that if the patron willingly and knowingly attempted to purchase something he/she is not old enough to do, he/she is just as guilty if not more so.

In another story by FoxNews, it appears that personal injury lawyers are attempting to target alcohol advertisers, accusing the advertisers of targeting their ads to underage drinkers. Now, various studies have consistently shown that there is no link between the alcohol advertisements and underage drinking.

The part of the article that got my attention was about how Coors responded to one of the lawsuits "...with a letter to the plaintiffs' lawyer putting him on notice to either withdraw the lawsuit or face a motion for sanctions fines judges can impose for bringing frivolous litigation ..." In other words, they fought back.

Why am I bringing these stories up? Is it about alcohol consumption? No. It's about people stepping forward and forcing instigators to be held more accountable for their actions. Too many people are filing lawsuits to make money. Too many people are blaming others for their own bad behavior (I had a bad childhood, I was in a bad relationship, Pisces was in the cusp of Leo, blah blah blah). Instead of owning up to their own bad choices and bad decisions, they blame someone else (it's your fault I had to hit you; he should have checked my ID more closely; etc).

When I read that part about Coors sending their response to that lawyer made me want to jump up and shout, "Yes! Finally!" People and lawyers who are filing these frivilous lawsuits to make money need to be slapped with civil and financial sanctions. And yes, that includes the stupid lady who put a hot cup of coffee between her legs, scalded herself, and sued McDonalds for her stupidity.

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Impact of a Video

The image of 1000 words, or in this case maybe the video of a million words. It's one of those situations in which it will bug you if you don't see it, but then it will haunt you when you do see it. I actually viewed the video that showed the brutal beheading of Nick Berg.

This beheading was not quick nor painless. These terrorists actually took a sword/machete and sawed at this man's neck. After a few seconds of sawing, he'd change the position of the blade and work on another part of Berg's neck. It took about 30 seconds, and then the terrorist held up Berg's decaptitated head in the air for a good few seconds.

This is what we have to deal with right now. The foreign press keeps bleating anti-American news and terrorist groups are scaring the Iraqi people into not helping us help them. We've even got people here in our own country who may as well be our enemies with all the anti-American rhetoric they keep spouting under the guise of "freedom of speech." A reporter from Fox News this week stated that the terror group Hezbollah denounced the actions of the men who executed Berg. However, their reason was because it would take attention away from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.

Speaking of which, let's talk about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal that anyone against the Iraq war or the United States loves to bring up. The actions taken by those involved in the abuse were wrong, and they should be punished. However, I do not believe the abuse from our troops is widespread as the media both foreign and domestic would allow you to believe. As for the pictures, all I have to say to those accused of abuse is ARE YOU THAT STUPID OR ARROGANT TO BE TAKING PICTURES OF THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS YOU'RE NOW BEING ACCUSED OF?

Donald Rumsfeld said that there were several investigations going on at other prisons to determine if there are other abuses. I feel the media needs to take a wait-and-see attitude before any more conspiracy theories are submitted.

In the meantime, our troops are risking their lives out there! They are civilized soldiers following rules of ethics against those who have no rules or ethics. I can only imagine the frustration they are feeling.

In my opinion, our problem is that we're trying to appease too many people. We're trying to follow the rules by the Geneva Convention of 1948, kiss the butt of the United Nations to get their help, and deflect the insinuations (if not outright accusations) from the foreign media. I say enough is enough. We need to let the Iraqi people and the terrorists know that they are either with us or against us, and we will start shooting those who are against us unless they prove otherwise.

I've been watching Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. I've heard various commentators state that the Iraqi people have been terrorized into submission for decades. It was further stated that we, as a country trying to help them, have an uphill battle in getting full cooperation. I can understand the Iraqi people's situation. However, if they don't start helping us more, someone just as brutal and oppressive as Saddam Hussein will take them over and put them right back where they started from. We want to help the Iraqi people, but they've got to step up to the plate and be willing to help themselves.

Getting back to Nick Berg, his parents have been publicly blaming President Bush for his son's death. I grieve for their loss and their anguish, but I believe they are out of line with their accusations. I firmly believe they were already anti-Bush and are using their son's death to fan the flames of their own rhetoric against the President. Their son went to Iraq of his own free will; no one made him go. President Bush did not execute their son. The FBI did not execute their son. The Iraqi police did not execute thier son. I feel there may be more to Berg's visit in Iraq than what has been released to the media, based on the fact that the Iraqi police picked him up and held him, and the FBI investigated him. However, that is something we will probably never know for sure.

Regardless of how anyone feels about the situation, the bottom line is an American citizen was kidnapped and brutally executed by terrorists. That should be enough to allow our troops to open a can of whoop ass on those responsible.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Commercial Observations

Personal Observation of 1-800-Pet-Meds Commercial
Remember the commercial in which a pet dalmation named Buddy is whining and biting himself as the little boy asks his mother what's wrong with him? Remember the next scene of a cartoon x-ray flea biting the dog as you hear another whelp from the dog? Noticed that they're now airing the same commercial, but they've deleted that last part (with the flea bite and sound byte) from that scene? I think the company got complaints about the original commercial. I was a little disturbed by it, too.

I like most of the commercials from 1-800-PetMeds, but the continuity is shot to hell in some of their commercials. But they still don't compare to the commercials for Advantage.


Personal Observation of Quiznos Commercial/Website
A while back, I saw a commercial for Quiznos Subs featuring what looked like dead rats with Mr. Potato Head facial features. One of the "rats" had a singing voice that would make nails on a chalk board sound heavenly. This is supposed to sell submarine sandwiches? I actually e-mailed the company my honest opinion. I basically said that if they insisted on using the rats, they might need to change their name from Quiznos to Queasnos. I forgot exactly when I posted my honest opinion (early February, I think), but I got a response from Clint McCaskill on March 24.

In all fairness, their sandwiches do look good, and I like the idea of submarine sandwiches being made then toasted. I would have been very willing to try one of their sandwiches. I was honestly repulsed by the singing rodents. When they decide to give the rats the boot, I may actually consider patronizing the establishment as I do enjoy a good sub sandwich, especially if it's toasted.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Did You Have to Say That?

Ever been in a situation in which someone like your co-worker, your boss, your parents, your spouse, your siblings, your friends, etc. feel the compulsion to tell you something that you were already blatantly aware of? Have you ever bristled at hearing something from someone that just did NOT need to be said?

For example, a childless couple being approached by family and/or in-laws, and someone invariably asks, "When are you going to have children? You're not getting any younger." Did they have to say that? It's their marriage and their business as to whether or not they wish to have children. In addition, they don't need meddling nosybodies putting pressure on them by reminding them of their biological clock.

I'm thirty-nine years old, and my mother still forgets herself. I may go to an oriental buffet restairamt that features seafood, and she'll say, "Enjoy your seafood, but I think you should avoid the sushi." I could have overlooked it the first time, but the second time I told her I was going to this restaurant, she commented, "I hope you have a good time. Just remember, don't eat the sushi." 'Scuse me, Mom, but did you have to say that? I'm old enough to know what sushi is and whether or not I want to eat it. If I want to eat raw fish wrapped in seaweed, I'm old enough to make that decision.

How about when you're telling someone about a potentially bad experience and how the actions of someone prevented the situation from getting worse? You make the comment toward that person in absentia, "Thank you, so-and-so!" Then another person in the same room is feeling sanctimonious and makes the comment, "You should be thanking God!." Oh, Lord, did he have to say that? He listened to a true story about an event in my life, and the first sentence out of his mouth is a criticism! And these are the kind of people who cannot understand why no one wants to engage on conversation with them about religion. To quote a bumper sticker I wish I had, "Dear God, please protect me from your followers!"

I get several e-mails from friends ranging from jokes to stories. The only e-mails I don't like are the chain e-mails. You know the ones ... down at the bottom where it instructs you to "send this to ten people, and you'll see the Taco Bell chihuahua dance across your screen" or "send this to everyone on your list so we can spread the word about this terrible injustice going on." Oh puhleeze! Did you have to say that? If it's funny or interesting enough, it will be forwarded on its own merits. Let's not use the Internet to spread rumors or lie to people to trick them into forwarding an e-mail.

Other than e-mail spam, the e-mails that really piss me off are the religious and/or inspirational story e-mails. Not because of their content, but because of the guilt-inducing instructions at the bottom that psychologically bully you to forward the e-mail to "everyone on your list." You know the drill ... comments like, "Funny how we forward dirty jokes to everyone, but we're choosier when we forward God's word to those on our list because we don't want to offend them, " and "Are you ashamed to send this e-mail, for Christ said if you are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of you," and "If you delete this, may God have mercy on your soul." To the origianl authors of those e-mails who put those words at the end of your stories, did you have to say that? First, I don't need you or anyone else to tell me what I can do with my e-mail. Second, if the message is interesting enough, I would be more than willing to share it with those who I think would appreciate it. Finally, using the above-referenced comments was very uncalled for. If you feel the need to include psychological threats to forward your message, you shouldn't bother sending the message.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Gonna Make You Think

Okay, here is the scenario. You are a white parent taking your white child to a party. You were asked to bring a gift for the children to get as they draw numbers for it. At the party, there are various children of different races and ethnic backgrounds, although the majority of the attendees are white.

Now comes the time for the children to draw numbers for the gifts. It's your child's turn, and he/she draws a number for a particular gift. He/she has the gift in his/her hads and opens it to reveal a doll, and the race of the doll is black. How would you react? Answer honestly, because that answer reveals your true motive on how you teach your child to treat people of different races.

This is a true story. A friend of mine was telling me what she witnessed at this party she took her daughter to. She told me the white parents of the child who drew the number for the black doll were livid with anger. My question is, "Why?" The same parents felt like a "doll like that" had no business at that party. My question is, "Why not?" There were black children there, too. Let's turn the knife 180 degrees: how are the black parents supposed to react when their child opens up a gift to reveal a white doll? What's the difference? If it's a toy the child doesn't want to play with for whatever reason, maybe he/she can swap with another child.

Here's my opinion on the matter. The white parents who got angry about the doll were waaaay out of line with their anger. Their reaction told me more about how they feel about people of other races than anything they'd tell me verbally. Why do they feel it's shameful or an insult to be a white child with a black doll? I was told the doll was rather cute; it wasn't ugly. Their reaction smacked of a racist attitude.

It doesn't end there, folks. My friend's daughter offered to swap with the "offended" child; she honestly thought the doll was cute. Well, the grandparents found out, and they were ... shall we say "moritifed." Why would our granddaughter choose a baby of another race? Something's wrong with that child. Again, that reaction told me more about their true attitudes about people of other races than anything they would admit to my face.

People, please! Skin color should not be a deciding factor as to why you associate with different people. You associate with people because you have similar interests, similar values, etc. We all want to avoid people who would lie to us, lie about us, steal from us, hurt us, etc. Those kind of people come in all sizes and colors. Guess what? Decent people come in all sizes and colors, too. But those who choose friends or associates based on skin color only limit themselves.

Getting back to the question "how would you react," Answer that question for yourself honestly. Just remember that your answer will effect other people, not just you. Also, remember that what goes around comes around.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Exotic Treat: Hamburger Helper

How I miss being able to cook, when I had my own kitchen and could make my own meals! When you've eaten enough fast food, sandwiches, and microwave "heat and eat" meals, the hamburger helper I had at Soul Sister's house seems downright gourmet! And yes, I had some Dom Peri-Mountain Dew to go with that exotic Hamburger Helper!

Not sure if it's a southern thing, but all-you-can-eat buffets do well here in Waycross. I admit I tend to overdo it, but lately, it's the only time I get a hot meal. I don't have a kitchen right now, so cooking is out. Sometimes, Soul Sister will let me cook when I'm at her place.

Friday, May 07, 2004

This has been a frantic week!

We found out Monday that a major VIP is visiting my job next Tuesday. I can't say more right now other than a lot is hinging on this visit. It should go well as we always keep things up where I work. However, everyone has a bad day now and then; we just don't want to have one on the day of his viisit.

Tuesday, we had a surprise visit from a state auditor. In the office where I work, we are not notified of when the books get audited. They show up unannounced about every 12-24 months. This particular auditor has the reputation for being thorough and accurate. She's an extremely cultured, classy, down-to-earth lady who is fair and will work with you so long as she knows you're on the up-and-up with her. We fully expected her to work in our office for two weeks. In fact, this is what she told the officer who worked in Main Control. Color me shocked when I found out she was through Thursday afternoon! My books were in tip-top shape and it made her job much easier. At least it's over now. Of course, now I need to get back into my YMCA routine as I got off of it during this week. I started back this evening.

This was employee appreciation week at work. This morning, we were treated to a great breakfast buffet courtesy of the efforts of a few employees. It is people like these who make work pleasant. It is people like these who help to keep the morale up. Loved the eggs and smoked sausage, and one particular officer make some great sausage gravy! Man, it was delicious! When people at my job get together to have a cookout of some kind, we have some who (as we say in the south) can throw down some food!

Last weekend, I thought a friend of mine and her husband were headed toward a reconciliation. He promised to come back last Monday to fix her car. As of this writing, she has not heard from him. She was counting on his word that he would repair her car, and she was left in a bind. She has no operational car, and needs transportation to get to work. Several people have told her that she needs to get her divorce and leave him behind. All I know is that he's not helping his credibility by his actions. He'd better get his act together ... and fast! A person will only put up with so much.

Update 5/13/2004: We found out where he is, and his absence was beyond his control. I cannot go into more detail at this time.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Two Year Anniversary!

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the move from Tripod.com to GoDaddy.com with my very own domain name mundlingzone.org. Some of you may think I need a life, but it's a thrill to me, even two years later.

Speaking of anniversaries (but not necessarily good ones), next month will mark the one year anniversary of the passing of three people near and dear to a couple of friends of mine: Childhood Friend and her mother. In one week, they lost three close family members. Unfortunately, Soul Sister was having to find a home on the fly; at the time, no one either could or would help her. It seemed like I was her only friend. I truly wished I had the ability to clone myself so I could be at two places at the same time; I was torn up about it, so much so that I wrote a poem to try to describe my feelings. I still think about Childhood Friend and her mother and what they went through with their losses. How do you comfort someone who has been subjected to such grief? It's been almost a year, but my heart still aches for them.