formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Blame Barnabas Collins...

Or the (Very Long) Story of Why I Haven’t Slept in Four Nights…

I don’t watch scary movies. Correction: I can't watch scary movies… even the bad ones that lots of people find funny and not scary at all. And I’m not talking suspense/thrillers (love those!). I’m talking horror… those starring Jason, Freddy, Pinhead, Chucky, and any of their lovely friends. When I do watch one (and by ‘do’ I mean ‘am forced to’), I’m transformed from a reasonably (being the key word) confident, intelligent, rational individual into a blubbering, quivering, wild-eyed shell of my former self.

I blame Barnabas Collins.

For those of you younger than 40 (or not residing in the US), Barnabas Collins was a deliciously creepy, blood-sucking character in Dark Shadows, a gothic/horror soap opera that was on from 1966 to 1971. At 6 years old, I watched with relish (not the hotdog kind) and thus began my lifelong nocturnal dance with nightmares. And insomnia. My dad finally dictated that Barnabas Collins was off limits. I was crushed. But I did sleep a bit better… for a while.

As I got a bit older, I developed a real penchant for ghost stories. But ghost stories and kids with overactive imaginations don’t mix. So they were forbidden as well. Sigh. Older still (and in control of my own reading choices), I went back to them and discovered writers like Stephen King and John Saul. My creep addiction was fed regularly with few debilitating side effects, so I walked the scary movie route again. I did well. Well, I did pretty well… until the summer I spent at my Aunt Jean’s in NJ and I watched horror movie after horror movie until my nerves were frazzled and I jumped out of my skin if someone sneezed. One evening I was sitting on the front porch by myself, reading. Unknown to me, my dad had crept out the side door and around to the front of the house. He suddenly pulled himself up over the porch railing and screeched at me like a thing possessed. My (blood-curdling) scream was so loud the people across the street came to their windows (those would be the people on the third floor who were having a very noisy party). My dad, doubled over with laughter, went back into the house. When I’d just about recovered from the heart attack, I turned to say something through the window to my aunt. Instead of her, all I saw was my dad’s face, pressed against the screen, distorted and grotesque, as he howled at me again. An aneurysm followed the heart attack and I nearly died. I was finished with horror movies from that point forward. F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D.

Then some time later came The (edited for television but not edited enough) Exorcist. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this but my older brother (the one I like) is deaf. And while most television programs and movies have been closed-captioned for a long time, that showing of The Exorcist on our local station was not. So he asked me to watch it with him and interpret. I would have, honestly, had my eyes not been closed, had my fingers not been in my ears, and had I not been rocking myself, singing ‘la la la la la la la’ over and over in an attempt not to hear the horrific sounds emanating from Linda Blair. He kept coming over and pulling my fingers out of my ears, asking me what was being said. I still feel bad about letting him down but there’s a part of me that thinks he was just torturing me and he actually read their lips through the whole movie (he is my father’s son, after all). Needless to say, it was my last horror movie for two decades.

And that brings me to nearly present day. When I was in London in October, I somehow wound up watching a creeper with my friend Todd. That would be Todd, the horror junkie. He actually writes horror movies. Being scared out of his mind is not an issue for Todd. So we’re in the middle of The Grudge with Sarah Michelle Gellar and the music and the creepy little Japanese ghosts are totally wigging me out. I’m holding Todd’s hand in a death grip because 1) I needed to be touching another human being and 2) I figured if I was holding his hand, he couldn’t grab me with the intention of scaring the ever-lovin’ shit out of me (which he would totally do). And just as it’s getting seriously scary, Todd announces he’s going to bed. "What? Bed? Now? In the middle? But… but… but… I can’t be left alone," whimpers I. "Tough. I have to work tomorrow," replies he (with absolultely no sympathy I might add). "Shit. Shit. Shit-oh-dear," whines I. I had to change the channel, of course, as there was no way (in stinkin' Hell) I could watch it on my own and I had to get the creepy out of my head before I could sleep. But nothing worked. I lay there, all alone, listening to the creaking of an old London flat as it settled; to all the unfamiliar sounds that normally wouldn’t have fazed me. I had the blanket over my head (and if you knew how hot Todd keeps his flat, you would know that I nearly suffocated myself... willingly). I couldn’t sleep. I was so scared I almost crawled into Todd’s bed. He’s a big guy and he has a black belt… not that a black belt would have helped against ghosts, but I figured it was still better than my defense method (screaming and peeing in my pants). Am I right? I did make it through the night (by myself) but those creepy little Japanese ghosts stayed with me.

So, four nights ago I was watching HGTV… House Hunters International to be specific. A woman was looking for a flat in Hong Kong and some of the places she was seeing were real holes (half-a-million-dollar holes, but holes nonetheless). I was thinking how creepy it would be to live in those dumps. So when I went to bed right after, who came to visit me in my sleep? Those scary little Japanese ghosts from The Grudge, that’s who! And yes, I totally know that Hong Kong is in China and I don’t mean to sound all ignorant and un-PC by mixing up Asian people… errr… ghosts (it was a dream, people! And my friend Rae, who is half-Japanese was in it, too… not sure what relevance that has to this story, but she was). Anyway, I woke up, after being nearly murdered by the scary Japanese ghosts in the creepy Chinese flat, paralyzed and in a cold nightmare sweat. God, how I hate that. After about an hour, I managed to get back to sleep… ONLY TO HAVE THE NIGHTMARE CONTINUE (which has never happened to me)! I woke up again, paralyzed and sweating, at 4:30… and I never went back to sleep. Nightmare ends. Insomnia ensues.

And that, my bloggy friends, is the (very long) story of why I haven’t slept in four nights. I’m so friggin’ tired, it’s not funny. I really think if I had someone to sleep with, I’d be OK.

Soooooo… anyone want to join me tonight? It’s OK if you snore. Or hog the blankets. Really. I don’t mind. Anyone? Anyone? Whimper… sniff… anyone?


Michelle said...

DIANE, i will sleep with you under a few conditions:

1) I would like 2 fluffy pillows please
2) Hot cocoa before bed please
3) Fuzzy slippers waiting for me upon awakening
4) I would prefer my own blankey err blanket but if we must share please give me enough to cover myself completely for the entire night!
5) Please provide an ipod fully loaded with music that i love!
6) Breakfast in the morning, oatmeal please.
7) Coffee and lots of it!
8) No talking or whispering in the middle of the night, no snuggling either!!
9) Complete darkness.
10) The newspaper laid out for me to the arts and leisure section!!

Ok, i think i got it all down. Can you handle that Diane???

Oh and yay i am first!!!

Have a nice Tuesday and do not be scared my friend!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Diane...just watch Little Britain like we did while in London. If that doesn't put you to sleep, nothing will. Ok, well perhaps watching MTV would do the trick as well...or make you want to off yourself, you never know with a shit channel like that


Diane said...

Michelle... damn, girl, thems a lot of demands! (You're single... aren't you? ;) I don't know about the others, but I can definitely accomodate the 'no snuggling' one! ;)

Alan... you left your name! Whoo hoo! Maybe I'll just go back and read all your old emails... ;)

Anonymous said...


Diane said...

OK, not to sound stupid on my own blog (like it would be the first time) but, Anonymous, what the HELL is 'big spoon'?

OK, I get it if you don't want to sign up for a Google account and all but have I mentioned lately how much I hate it when people comment anonymously and don't at least sign their names? It's so annoying.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I come across as annoying, I find it quicker to post and less hassle if I just use the Anonymous button.

Big spoon is the person behind the other when spooning, aka cuddling. Spooning leads to forking!!

Signed "One of your secret admirers"

Diane said...

Just sign your name! And if we're talking about forking here, I hope you're at least a male secret admirer! ;)

Anonymous said...

And I have been leaving comment love all over you blogsite!!

Signed, OOYSA

ps I do have a yahoo account and just am not using it at the moment, but you have heard of me. Guess who I am and I will post a surprise for you that isn't stupid.

Sam_I_am said...

Big spoon/little spoon is a cuddling method. It's when 2 people lay on their sides facing the same direction and the big spoon in back puts their arm over the little spoon in front. See? This is why you enjoy the company of us young, immature 20 somethings. We know the cuddling lingo. ;-)

London at night is scary. I still have flashbacks of the Jack the Ripper tour. I'm glad we didn't have time for the haunted tour. Although, I did get scared in Savannah on the haunted tour there, so it may just be haunted tours in general. When I'm alone and I scare myself, I sleep between dogs. Maybe you need another dog ;-)

Diane said...

OOYSA...? Damn, but I hate guessing games. Give me a hint... do I know you in person?

Anonymous said...

I already gave you a hint. You just looked right over it.


Diane said...

That you have a Yahoo account? Everyone has a Yahoo account. A Yahoo account from which I've received an email?

Diane said...

Sigh... OOYSA has left me high and dry. High is OK... dry sucks. No, OOYSA, I'm not content with anonymous love (don't you know me at all?!). I'll keep thinking... you keep hinting... and maybe the twain shall meet.

Anonymous said...

Oh thats funny.

I remember you being quite worked up when we watched, 'The Grudge' but I had no idea it had affected you THAT much.

Just be glad you didn't see the Japanese original.

Hint - at this point in history, the Japanese are making hands-down the best horror movies in the world.

Do not under any circumstances watch a Japanese horror film. You would become so scared, you might just slip out of normal space time.

Heh heh heh


Sweet Cheeks said...

Hi Diane!
I can only watch horror films if I watch cartoons afterwards. This counter acts the evil with good. You're more likely to dream the last thing you saw, so wouldn't you rather see a bunny in your dream than monsters?
Btw, I loved Dark Shadows. I watched it in the mid 80's. during my stay at home mom days (reruns of course.) :)

Anonymous said...

I am not leaving you dry, in fact if I could I would leave you wet, but that is me being cheeky, which is on par for the norm (part of being raised by older brothers). Honestly, I am celibate and have been for a litle over two years (since my last failed attempt at romance). Extenuating circumstances and an over active conciencse (did I spell that right??), won't let me jump into the sack with just anyone. Not that I don't enjoy casual sex I just don't like feeling like I've used someone else. But I digress, because I value myself to be more than my steaming hot monkey love. As do you, and I love that about you too!! Can I get an "AMEN" from all those out there that have true affection for someone else??


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I was so worked up that I hit it twice (pun intended)!!


Amy McMean a.k.a McSunshine said...

I love horror movies but I always get scared and cover my eyes and my friend yells at me. He says "whay do you want to watch this if you're going to cover your eyes" I say BECAUSE I WANT TO! Guys. They don't know anything.

I loved Dark Shadows and I'm not 40 :) Not even close.

Diane said...

Oh, hell's bells OOYSA. Just tell me for God's sake and put me out of my misery!!

blognut said...

I remember liking the post, but now your creepy anonymous stalker has captured my attention and I have forgotten what it was about. When you figure out this stalker, you have to come back and tell us what the hell OOYSA means.

Diane said...

Blognut... I will... if I don't go insane first.

Heather said...

I, like Blognut, have now completely forgotten what I intended to say, thanks to your anonymous lover (who is kind of creeping me out, not gonna lie.)
Horror movies, right? That's what this was about?? I used to be addicted in my teen years, but now just a preview for a scary movie will send me over the edge. Overactive imaginations - not always such a good thing!

Anonymous said...

OOYSA stands for "one of your secret admirers". I just got tired of doing the typing. And I apologize if I came across as creepy. I do not intend to do that. And I am not a stalker, but rather someone she has traded posts with for some time, but has been MIA for a bit. There is your second clue, Diane (and I spell it with one "N" not two!!).

And the original post was about her sleepless nights due to horror movies, which morphed into what people were demanding to sleep at her place tonight (no cuddling though, and spooning is definitely cuddling).

OOYSA the Insulted

Protege said...

Diane, I completely share with you this terror of horror movies. "The Grudge" was scary, but "The Ring" was much worse. Particularly the Japanese version. I simply could not watch more than 10 minutes of it and like you, I could not sleep for days afterwards.
No, I much rather stick with romantic comedies.;)

Anonymous said...

And you will know who I am as soon as the RSS feed kicks in on your computer. And all those others are just jealous because they are not getting any anonymous comment love. BTW, I am not "in love" with you, or jonesing anything you have accept for your moral convictions.


Diane said...

For the record, OOYSA, I wasn't thinking creepy.

OK... here's what we have so far...

I'm guessing you're a guy, based on the comments here, though I'll admit I thought you were a woman in your comments on my other post. Hmmmm...

I'm guessing there's a UK connection (given the reference to 'cheeky', which isn't a word commonly used by Americans, especially American men).

We used to trade posts but you've been MIA... you have older brothers... you've been celibate for 2 years.

And you have a Yahoo account, which you made it sound like I should know about.

Another hint and I might have it... but please make it a good one!!!

Anonymous said...

I love nicknames.


Diane said...


Anonymous said...

Righty-o!! Took you long enough, but I was being evasive. I guess I'll have to add OOYSA to my many nicknames now. And sorry for the improper flirting, I hope I didn't creep all your readers out too bad, but they can untwist their own panties!! Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year, Diane.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and I have a picture for all of you. Maybe I'll use it for tomorrows waaaay over due Caption Contest!!

Diane said...

Everyone who was worried about the stalker can rest easy... it's none other than the very funny, very insightful Stu Pidasso of Te Last Long Walk Home (I'm too lazy to look up the URL). He's lovely, really, and not creepy at all.

Happy New Year to you, too, love. I'm glad you're back! I've missed you!

Anonymous said...

And I meant all those things I commented about in your previous posts. I truly love the way you are and hope you find someone special to share your world with. The kind of person who reminds us of all those movie characters that make our eyes glaze over and dream of a perfect mate. Tristan, from Legends of the Fall; Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, in Prince of Thieves; Orlando Bloom, as the blacksmith, in Kingdom of Heaven; The dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride; Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye, in last of the Mohicans. Someone who will chase to the ends of the earth for you and Ryan (because I know it is a package deal), someone who will write love letters to you and hide them away to give to you at a later time when you can be together. Someeone who KNOWS in their heart that you were meant to be together and has the patience and tenacity to wait for that love. Someone who is willing to share the worst burden that we can imagine just to walk by your side and hold your hand and say proudly "This is my mate and I am not ashamed who knows and am willing to pay any and all costs". Someone who will tuck you in at night while you are a sleep and kiss you gently on your forehead to give you even sweeter dreams.

"Is she worth it??"

"Is she worth what?"

"Dying for!"

"You bet your sweet ass she is. Always has been and always will be."

I miss my wife and kids. Fluck and double fluck, I feel a wicked drunk coming on tonight.

OOYSA the slightly depressed romantic fool that can't give up hope for true love because he knows it exists

Diane said...

Good Lord, man. Sniff. Have one for me, too, will you?

Shanna said...

ROFL I sooo don't blame you for not watching those movies.

Psst, I LOVE HGTV and House Hunters is one of my favs, with a close second by Property Virgins. HH International is good - but man, WHAT do those people do for a living that they can afford some of those "vacation" houses?? Looks like the Dominican Republic is affordable right now though LOL :)

Mel said...

Oh, geez! This turned into something way different than a horror movie post, didn't it? Including all the private investigative skills I had to try and protect my best buddy! Good thing I once dated a private investigator. (not that he did anything except drive me nuts).

And, Stu, you big ole lunk, you got even Diane's most cynical friend, aka (since you like nicknames and all) The Most Unromantic Woman in the World, to shed a tear from that ode to sweet lovin' you just wrote.

Cat said...

I'd like to offer you my "big fork" if you'd like it. And I think you know what I mean by that.

Oh, and BOO!

Diane said...

Cat... I don't think Gray would be pleased to know you're pimping him out.

PS... you're mean.

Michelle said...

Diane, i will let you off on all the demands except for #2,7,9...OK??

Seems i missed a lot throughout the day!!!

WOOHOO you have stalkers and all kinds of fun stuff going on!!!


SSP said...

Diane, I also was somehow allowed to watch Dark Shadows when I was 6, and for decades after, I had to sleep with the lights on and the covers arranged just SO around me neck. One of my worst nightmares is I am in this creepy old cabin and I turn arod and there is Barnabas, at the window, glowing eeriely...I have not had the dream in years, but I can still remember it vividly. When I went to college, that first night i had to sleep with the lights off, due to a room mate, I thought I would die!! Thank you for the laugh out loud about your dad scaring you..that is SOOO funny!! And I am glad you figured out who your stalker about creepy ;-)

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I had guessed Stu about half way through.

No rhyme intended.

Sleep with you? No. Drink into the night. Possible.

Diane said...

JCosmo... I wasn't offering myself up for illicit activities! But drinking into the night might help to cure my insomnia...

Jenners said...

It totally kills me that your latest round of nightmares was triggered by House Hunters International! That totally cracks me up!!!

I'm with you on the scary movies. I can't do them. I watched "Murder on the Orient Express" in the theater when I was a kid and kept reliving the murder in my dreams and couldn't sleep for days. And "Jaws" terrified me for months on end. And that horrible horrible movie "The Ring" which I watched for some inexcplicable reason scared me -- not that it was good or anything but the imagery of that girl in the well was just too creepy and I couldn't think about it. Never seen The Exorcist and never will. And I get scared reading books too. Stephen King's IT had me terrified in college; kept expecting to see that clown in the sewers.

OK --- now I'M going to have nightmares tonight!

I wish you a good sleep with no dreams. Watch "Babe" (the pig movie) or the Muppets or something good like more House Hunters for you!

But seriously, I do hope you get some sleep.

Braja said...

I can't watch them either....the slightest hint of violence or scary and I'm out...always was that way

hebba said...

They remade that show, Dark Shadows in 1990-1991. My friend Isabelle and stayed in and I watched it on Fridays when we were in college because we were both dorks who worked at 7:00am on Saturday mornings. Better still...I saw in ENtertainment weekly that Tim Burton is making a movie starring Johnny Depp as Barnabus!!!I am so there!