Mabel Oliver

No-Risk Ways to Combat Sleep Deprivation: Talk Radio to a New Mattress

Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest problems facing individuals and even the country today. According to, more than 25% of all Americans occasionally do not get enough sleep, and 10% suffer from insomnia.

I'm not a doctor, but I do know from experience what it means to suffer from sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation means a day of irritability, forgetfulness, lethargy and inability to focus. Sleep deprivation means not having enough energy for your kids. Sleep deprivation can cause you to turn to coffee or other artificial energy enhancers, further compounding the problem as they can also lead to sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle. You don't sleep deeply and/or you don't sleep enough. You toss and turn and then it becomes even harder to sleep.

Through the years, I've learned certain techniques and behaviors to combat sleep deprivation. Some of these may be conventional sleep deprivation fighting techniques, but others are ones that I discovered after years of combating it.

Get a better mattress. The number one reason for sleep deprivation and the easiest way to combat sleep deprivation is to get a better and more comfortable mattress. After almost five years of suffering with it, my wife and I went shopping for a new mattress and it's made a lot of difference. My advice is to shop at a bedding store, with mattress experts who can really educate you as to the pros and cons of the mattress itself and why some carry different price tags than others. Think about it. A mattress is where you will hopefully spend a THIRD of your life! Do not skimp and buy the highest quality mattress available! This doesn't necessarily mean a mattress that is the most expensive, but a mattress that feels the most comfortable and has a reputation for lasting and being durable.

Limit your caffeine intake and avoid caffeine after 3:00PM. Caffeine will stay in your system for quite a while and it's important to get it completely out before falling asleep. Next to getting a better mattress, limiting your caffeine is probably the second most important thing you can do.

Don't force yourself to sleep. If you aren't tired, do not stress out about and lie on your mattress in a dark room staring at the ceiling. Instead, do something that will relax you. Many will advise you to not watch television, but in my experience, a funny, lighthearted show can really help me to zone out.

I'll put this tactfully, but if you are married or have a significant other next to you, the, uh, occasional "happy ending" can help zone you out and combat sleep deprivation (and perhaps deprivation of other things as well!). Whatever is keeping you up and stressed will soon be forgotten!

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol turns into sugar in your bloodstream and will keep you awake, or at least keep your body fighting off the sugar all night. Not as bad as caffeine, perhaps, but still an issue.

Talk radio. The mindless blather coming from stations, like WFAN sports talk in New York, can help block out more important issues. What is sports talk for, after all, but escapism? And many opposing fans would claim that the New York sports they talk all day is the leading cure for sleep deprivation!

Music. Maybe not the Foo Fighters, but put on a Fleetwood Mac or Alicia Keys CD and it can be soothing. I'm not sure Stevie Nicks or Alicia Keys would like to be recommended as a sleep deprivation cure, but my job is to report my experiences here.…

The Best Indie Music Videos

As evidenced by the swelling list of indie music video websites like HostBaby and Pitchfork, the democratization of audio-video recording technology is well underway. But as in digital book publishing, does access to global distribution automatically provide a return on investment with indie artists sales, and more importantly, a growing loyal fan (customer) base? Of course, the short answer is "no." However, in reality, there are winners and losers; and as in most things, the cream somehow always manages to rise to the top. Yet it's not necessarily the best musicians, songwriters or vocalists that cut through the din.

Due to audiovisual technology's growing sophistication, indie artists are required to not only master their art or craft, if you will, they must become experts in full-suite programs like Digital Performer or for Apple users, Logic, using plug-ins, synths, samplers, creating and syncing video files, and mastering an endless array of other effects-producing software. Couple that with maneuvering through the hectic world of business, marketing, production, distribution, accounting and event organizing and what may seem like at first, simply an entertaining music video on, is in fact, the culmination of an entire industry vertical, typically accomplished by a handful of impoverished artists seeking affirmation of a vision. Trust me; it's not about the money.

And I don't really want to paint such a bleak picture but the reality is, on top of all this, to hit the bar, some synths, no matter the best available from the likes of Native Instrument's Komplete Bundles, there is no substitute for a desired sound one can only capture from say, a real kick drum or tom with expert mic selection-placement in a studio environment, never mind, the intimacy of a $3500 Neumann U 87 large condenser mic for a pop vocal track. And have I mentioned gain staging yet? There is no substitute for a quality compressor/limiter.

So really, the days of a mediocre music video tumbling into a well of good fortune and splashing the charts with a half-baked production, if ever there were, are gone. Even though the every-band's access has been improved dramatically via affordable home studio software and low-cost, high quality analog-digital interfaces, the necessary steps to successful audiovisual production remain the same. Knowing which of those steps should be exported or completed in-house is critical to producing a quality music video. And in the end, the finished product must speak for itself–no excuses.


My Top 5 Country Music Videos

Not only do I love listening to music, but I also love watching music videos. With my wide of music interests, I have picked 5 of my favorite county music videos, each from a different artist.

  1.  "I Can't Sleep" by singer Clay Walker. Directed by Trey Fajoy, this video is a classic. Clay Walker trails through the video searching and determined to find the woman whom is the reason he "Can't Sleep" and at the end of the video when he finds her, instead of having a happy ending, she ends up with another man. The video is shot in Mexico and provides beautiful scenery, good lyrics, and a great screen play.
  2.  "The Thunder Rolls" by singer Garth Brooks. On May 12, 1991 when this video produced by Bud Shaetzle it caused quite a controversy. This video is about an abusive husband who is cheating on his wife, and the wife comes back to kill him. Even though this video was banned from TNN and CMT it still won the video of the year award.
  3.  "Don't Take The Girl" sang by Tim McGraw and directed by Sherman Halsey is one of the most popular music videos of all time. It is a great montage of boy and girls relationship through the stages of life, with a dramatic heart breaking ending that will bring tears to your eyes.
  4.  "Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy" sang by the musical duo Big and Rich, this video was a huge transition in country music, and lead country music to a place it had never been. This brought a whole new crowd of followers to country music and music video director David Hogan really created a dynamic video.
  5.  "American Soldier". This video sang by Toby Keith, and directed by Paul Rachmen. This video is so impactful and really hits to home for people who are affected by the war on terrorism. This video shows the life of an American Soldier through powerful prideful lyrics.

All of these videos are very theatrical and have underlying stories that you have to watch the videos and really listen to the words of the songs to follow. They aren't just an artist and a camera. Even though some are controversial, the meanings in all of these videos are bold and also powerful, than many people are able to relate to.


Sauna Technology in a Wrap

We all know that there are hundreds of ways advertised to help us lose weight. All of these different weight loss methods have their own unique principles and procedures to follow. One such way for losing wigged that you may not know too much about is the use of sauna technology like the sauna wrap.

Let's take a look at some of the different ideas behind these body wraps and whether they may be right for you.

One of the biggest advantages of using an infrared sauna wrap to lose weight is that they can easily be used at home. That is one of the main reasons why many US homes now have these along with many people in various parts of Europe.

Many people understand that sauna wraps work on the theory of a water reduction method. That is, as you wear the body wrap it helps in generating heat from inside, which lets you lose excess water from your body in the form of sweat. This slimming effect is logical, as your body is mainly constituted with water.

This is actually what occurs when you properly follow the instructions of these wrap kits as you are instructed to drink a lot of water which will help you to produce excessive amounts of sweat. As you are sweating you will begin to lose weight and get a healthier body as you are also eliminating toxins in your system that have built up over time. You will feel your skin is getting better and you have a healthier digestive system.

There are various sauna wrap kits you can choose from and they each have their own methods and procedures to follow. They do include items that are usually common to all of them like a vinyl sauna suit, cotton elastic wrap, belt and instructions. Initially it might be difficult for you to understand the instructions that are included but they often provide videos from which you can use to help you get set up and started with their different ways of losing weight.

While you use this method of sauna technology, you must not only drink right but eat right as well. If you have good eating habits and you work out properly then you will have a very good chance of experiencing long lasting results. If you continue with proper eating and exercising habits then you certainly should be able to maintain a good figure and physique even if you do not use the sauna wrap regularly. If this approach to weight loss appeals to you do a little research to find the products best suited to you and give it a try.


Digital Video Cameras and MP3 Voice Recorders for the Outdoors

Welcome to another installment of Sea Kayaking Dot Net's fence post navigation series, your online resource for tips, pointers and helpful hints for sea kayakers around the world.

Today's topic is portable digital video cameras, digital voice recorders, and their utility on sea kayaking day trips and overnights. Two economical and compact, easy to transport models to consider are the Flip Ultra digital video camera, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, and the Sony ICD -UX 70 MP3 digital voice recorder, about the size of a doublewide USB flash drive. Both are simple to operate, run on common alkaline batteries, and fit handily, as a pair, into watertight LockNLock boxes no larger than half an egg carton.

The advantages of the Flip Ultra and Sony's ICD digital voice recorder are their small size and ease of use. Push a button and off you go, recording in stereo technical paddling discussions around the campfire or footage of the island and waters you're visiting. Both digital recording devices are small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, making them particularly handy for packing into a sea kayak, where space is at premium, especially on extended kayak camping trips.

The drawback of both units is that neither is waterproof (although you can buy a watertight case for the Ultra and shoot footage while underway or while rolling). While you're on the water, both need to be stored in gasket-sealed watertight cases.

Both units offer simple one-button operation. For the Flip (well-regarded for its omnidirectional microphone, depth of field and sensitivity in low light), you simply set the camera onto a miniaturized tripod, press the red record button, point the lens at your subject, and start filming.

The camera's onboard omnidirectional microphone is effective for picking up both narration and ambient outdoor sound. Once you've shot your footage and brought the camera home, you open the camera's USB port, plug it into your Mac or Windows computer, and use the camera's onboard software to download and edit your footage.

The Flip Ultra runs on two AA batteries, handy for sea kayakers who habitually bring along a dozen or so AA batteries to power their GPS units and VHF radios.

The Flip Ultra records to internal flash memory and can hold about an hour's worth of high quality sea kayaking footage. Drawback is, once you've shot an hour of footage you can't shoot anymore until you've downloaded your current footage and cleared the camera's memory.

The same holds true, but to a lesser extent, for the Sony ICD digital voice recorder. A miniature MP3 recorder, the ICD runs on a one AAA battery and includes a port for both an external microphones and a set of headphones. Like the Ultra, the Sony MP3 recorder records onto internal flash media. You can record nearly sixteen hours of high quality audio on the MP3 recorder, making it handy for recording interviews, commentary and conversations with local residents if your paddling location is exotic or remote.

Well that's it for today's installment of Sea Kayaking Dot Net's fence post navigation series, your online source for tips, pointers and helpful hints useful to sea kayakers around the world.


Free Classical Music Online

is often played by orchestras. Such instruments used in classical music are violins, cellos, harps, brass instruments, woodwinds,and percussion.

Classical music has been around as long as 500 A.D. Over the years and throughout the different periods, classical music has evolved like many other types of music. There are three types of periods of classical music. The Periods of European art music are Early, Common Practice and Modern and Contemporary.

The Early Period of classical music includes Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque. The Medieval Period ran between the years 500 and 1400. The Renaissance Period was from the years 1400 to 1600. The Baroque Period ran from the years 1600 to 1760 and overlapped into the Common Practice Period.

With the Baroque Period overlapping into the Common Practice Period, it is the only style of classical music to do so. The other two types of classical music in the Common Practice Period are Classical and Romantic. The Classical Period ran in the years 1730 to 1820 and overlapped with the Baroque Period for thirty years. The Romantic Period ran from 1815 to 1910. This period overlapped with the Classical Period for five years.

The Modern and Contemporary Period of classical music includes 20th Century and Contemporary. The 20th Century Period includes the years 1900 to 2000 which overlapped the Romantic Period for 10 years. The Contemporary Period includes the years 1975 to present and overlapped the 20th Century Period for 25 years.

It shouldn’t matter which period of classical music you prefer, listening to classical music can be relaxing and enjoyable. I find listening to classical music when I am tired a great way to relax.

Classical Live Online Radio: Free Classical Music

This website has a list of over 140 different sites to listen to classical music on. They have provided the stations that play classical music with information about each station. They have also provided how the classical music is played for each of the stations. The radio stations provided for the free classical music online are from around the world.

Using the radio stations that stream classical music online can help you listen to your favorites while away from home. The radio stations listed on the site above are just a few of the ways you can listen to classical music online. There are sites that have a few pieces of classical you can download to your computer or a MP3 player.


Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 – MP3 Player Review

Back in the day, Sony Walkman tape players were the hottest tech item around. Today, Sony has the 8GB or 16 GB Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 mp3 player to revive the legendary brand. They are priced at $199 and $299. Unfortunately, the new Sony Walkman doesn't hold up against fierce competition in the mp3 player market.

With an interface that reminds you of Sony Ericsson cell phones, there are 4 buttons marked with arrows for ease of navigation and several icons. When the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 is compared to the iPod Nano, the interface looks a bit basic. It is relatively small when put next to other media players, but is still larger than the Nano, and for such a diminutive device, the screen size is quite impressive.

PC software on the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 is horrid, although on the device itself it is fair. Even though you can add music to your device with a halfway helpful interface and manage podcasts, it does go far slower than the speeds offered by iTunes. There is however a plus to this. You can drag and drop files onto the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729.

Audio quality tests yielded good results. Although the bass is a bit pronounced, it is in no way detrimental to the sound quality. There is also an extremely low level of noise and distortion on this mp3 player. The channels tend to stay where they are meant to stay. Bad reviews on audio quality only included the output power and headphones tests.

The headphones included with the device are of very poor quality, but are better than the ones that come with iPods. Low output power issues are of such a nature that the high impedance headphones will use a lot of the power that should be used to power the headphones. Other than this, the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 mp3 player did a good job.

All things considered, the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 has a few things against it. With a more primitive interface and physical look, it doesn't compare to the iPods or other comparable media players out there. It is also higher priced than the same size Nano. If you happen to catch one at a significantly reduced price, then you might want to check into it.

The Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 mp3 player has continued a tradition for the Sony Walkman franchise, but is not up to the standards previously set by them. It is slow and has a primitive design compared to other media players. It is also priced higher than comparable players.


Getting Music from YouTube Videos

There is probably no doubt that you have heard some of your favorite music on YouTube. Even though you thought that YouTube was only for music videos and other miscellaneous videos it can also have just about any type of music song that really doesn't even have a video to go with it like many of the songs that you may hear on the radio. Many people want to listen to those songs that they hear on YouTube without the hassle of having to download it through the internet browser every time that you want to listen to it. What if you are not able to access the internet at some point but you can still use your PC? You could be listening to the music that you like without having to wait for it to load every time you visit the page. How can you listen to music from YouTube videos?

The easiest way is to simply install the newest version of the Real Player. The features that are included will allow you to download the music from YouTube videos at the cl…