more of the same insanity ::::::::


Horsies and lava

I woke up this morning trying to devise a way to hoist up a horse with a rope. I was imagining different ways to fasten a rope to a horse so that I could lift it without hurting it, and I had to think quickly because of the lava.

Let's go back a little bit. We don't have to go too far, because I don't remember very much of the dream. Or maybe it was just a short dream. I was on my horse navigating him across the river of lava. We were jumping from one rock platform to the next, and I was feeling glad those platforms were there. We made it across the lava only to encounter the bottom of a cliff. There was a small ladder that went to the top, but I certainly wasn't going to leave my horse behind. I called for a rope and one was lowered from the top of the cliff. I don't know who did it. I didn't see anyone. Maybe I should have asked for an elevator.

So I had to hurry because it seemed a dangerous place for my horse and me. I must have been awake a full minute before I realized I had been dreaming and could now stop thinking about how to lift a horse up a cliff with a rope.


About About Schmidt

Last night I spent a small but significant portion of my life watching a late night movie on TV, rather than going to bed at a time when normal people are sleeping deeply. The movie was called About Schmidt, a movie that was pretty big at the time it came out, starring Jack Nicholson as a recently retired insurance guy, whose future seems uncertain and whose life up until that time seems to have little meaning. Good movie.

He does some soul-searching, trying to make some meaning out of his life, which he feels has had little impact on anyone at all. Throughout the movie he writes to his new foster child Ndugu, a little Tanzanian boy that he begins to sponsor through a worldwide children's charity after seeing a commercial. (Incidently, during the actual commercials, they ran a very long Christian Children's Fund ad several times). It is through these letters to Ndugo that Schmidt really lets out his inner thoughts, since he rarely can do so with the people around him, who generally don't understand him. In the end, he finds a glimmer of meaning in his life which makes all the difference.

My self-conscious, however, has apparently deemed the movie imcomplete, and so it has continued the movie in my dreams as I slept. Schmidt goes on to remarry, this time to a woman with a love for life, who Schmidt relates very well to. Schmidt also takes up the electric guitar in my dream. His is the only apartment on the top floor of the building where they live, so this is where he and his new rock band play every day. They're not bad. But the man who lives downstairs, a stuffy young thirty-something guy who represents the Schmidt of yesteryear, can't handle the racket of Schmidt's rocking out. He says whoever is playing that sound is an "abomination." So Schmidt turns himself completely into an abominable sasquatch (not snowman - I don't know why). But he is abominable, and enters the man's apartment in order to scare the piss out of him. He doesn't roar or anything, he just talks to the man, explaining that he is abominable, and that the man ought to be terrified of him. The man was terrified, in a rather subtle sort of way. Good job, Schmidt.

And good job subconscious. Way to make a good story even better. My brain is awesome.


Vikings are ugly

Vikings are uglier even than pirates.



Twice in the same year now we see the evidence of ignorance with respect to the existence of Don Quixote, heroic character of legend, subject of the great Cervantes' magnum opus El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, considered by the literary world to be the first modern novel, and thought by many to be one of the most important literary works ever written. The year's first case is well known: a young man with dark hair (pictured below), likely to be of Greek decendence, was reported to enter the home of a certain reader of the Quixote, where the dark-haired man glanced at the book's cover, then said quizzically, "Don QUIX-ote?" As any moderately aware person will tell you, the name Quixote comes from the Spanish name Quijote, pronounced "kee-HOh-tay." This man, however, said "KWICKS-oat," as though it were the name of a cereal for children. Then the dark, hairy man poked fun at the reader of the Quixote for believing the novel was widely known, at which point the reader suggested that the man go outside and ask the first four people he met whether they had heard the name Don Quixote before. The dark-haired man did so. Three of the four people questioned simply confirmed their knowledge of the novel's existence. The fourth answered by breaking into song, singing "To Dream the Impossible Dream," the well-known theme song to the famous Don Quixote film Man of La Mancha. The reader was vindicated.

The second case of ignorance was of a similar, albeit less extreme, nature, wherein the young man in question (also pictured below), apparently from some obscure town in the Arizonan desert, was altogether unaware of the pronunciation of the novel's title character. He was also previously unaware of the novel's existence, reporting absolutely no former knowledge of the book or its author.

A common thread between the Quixotically ignorant has been found. During seemingly unrelated conversations with each of the previously mentioned young men, each professed a significant disbelief in the moon landing of 1969. Witnesses spoke to the young Arizonan in his own Provo apartment, where he reportedly made the comment, "I'm not sure I believe we did it." Months earlier, in the midst of a similar conversation, the dark-haired Greek allegedly commented, "There's a lot of evidence out there that it didn't happen."

The following images represent the only photographic depictions currently available for these two young men.

Making sense of the nonsense

Having rethunk what I had pre-thunk, and thinking there may be more thinking to be thunk than originally thunk, I think I will rethink my pre-thinking. (This post takes another look at yesterday's Robot me).

Yesterday's dreams, along with the accompanying post, have inspired more curiosity to my mind than has been precedential. So together with a few modos de pensar presented to me by some of my more inspiring school classes, I have considered and reconsidered some of the implications and nuances of the dreams I have, the memory I have of those dreams, and the notes that I make based on those memories. And now, in one of the deeper and more thought-provoking posts this blog has seen (and it is suspected that there will be very few of its kind), I present the thinking that I have recently rethunk.

As I read the dream in its current written form, I can see areas which are not perfectly consistent with my memories of the actual dream. There are some inconsistencies in there, but not because of any intent on the narrator's part to deceive or misrepresent. Take, for instance, the part of the ugly robot in the garage, and the boys that built it. During the final song, I remember a confusing mixture of singing and music, as well as pauses in the music where I would hear the words "hot dog." The words seemed to have been intended as part of the song, and yet were so distinct from the rest of the song that they are the only words I remember. There may not even have been other lyrics at all. In my previous post, I assign the music to some background source, and the words "hot dog" to the ugly, jumping robot. But the boys may have been singing as well, and the music may have been coming from the robot itself, or may have not come from any one source, but may have simply emanated throughout the dream, penetrating everything. The way the dream is written, however, is the way in which I have made sense of it, putting it into some sort of intelligible narration. Thus the dream, as bizarre as it remains, takes on a more logical format.

And perhaps that is the key to the inconsistency. Written narration looks for logic and pattern, and can often be represented by the classical plotline, with exposition, rising action, climax, and denouement. Even when the classical model doesn't work, a more broken up, realistic plotline model can be drawn. But written narration seems to have no support at all for the dream sequence format, which knows little of logic and pattern, or even the erratic, meandering sequences of real or realistic life. So dream falls apart in the presence of narration, and vice versa.

Another example of the dream/narration inconsistency involves a conscious omission in the narrative where words just can't make sense of the nonsense. My own swirling mass of intangible, ephemeral memories on the matter only just come close. I'll attempt it in words anyway. I left out the part where, after suggesting that I learn to do flips (from either acrobatics or something like it), Angelina Jolie takes me around to another part of the garage and shows me how. But not by doing any flips. Or martial arts. Or acrobatics. We are both sprawled out on the ground, with our stomachs down, propped up on our elbows, with our heads close together. Like two kids taking a close look at an anthill. And she is showing me some color-coded wires, explaining what each color represents. Somehow, understanding the wiring down on the ground was directly related to me learning to do flips. Each of the four wires represented a concept related to it, though in retrospect, if I could remember the words she used, I think the concepts would prove to be bizarre and imaginary ideas. At least three of the four would be. She said she couldn't remember what the fourth stood for. As it turns out, I don't think I ever learned to do flips in the dream.

The third and final major inconsistency that comes to mind is that of the severed head, which toward the end of the narration turns out to have arms, and the ability to swing around from tree to tree, much like a monkey. He was in fact very much like an animal, ever since coming "alive" again after his beheading. The severed head was never able to talk, and would bite people based on a seemingly animalistic instinct, rather than out of premeditated, human maliciousness. The inconsistency evolves around the fact that the current narration doesn't quite depict what was happening with the severed head. He was only a head at first. The girl with the ninja sword had most definitely chopped off his head. Only his head. The head of a man. While showing the head to the family, I had to hold his mouth shut to keep him from biting them with his sharpened teeth, already making him seem like more of an animal. Then he was swinging around with arms disproportionate to his seemingly large head. Toward the end of the dream, he had shoulders, arms, and a torso in addition to what was originally just a head. For a brief moment in the dream, this was confusing, but I seem to remember "reminding myself" that he had been cut in half after all, not beheaded. I think I was lying to myself. I even seem to remember him having the majority of his body by the very end, missing only his feet and part of his lower legs, as though he had only lost his feet. And yet he was still quite animalistic, like a household pet. Then he swung down and picked up the ugly robot's face, a humanesque face drawn onto a paper plate, with little folded rolls of masking tape on the backside, and secured it to the ugly robot, giving it life. The ugly robot then dances around and says "hot dog," evidence of a very limited vocabulary, yet a vocabulary greater than than that of the now animalistic severed head/body.

I don't think that each individual dream or detail of a dream has significance unto itself, outside of context. But I do tend to think that certain ideas or patterns will be found by looking at several of an individual's dreams. It seems fair to think that overwhelming thought patterns or fears that an individual has would be made manifest in dreams, though they may mask themselves with bizarre or unpredictable images. I just recently saw a movie with Angelina Jolie as a character who gave counsel. That she was the image chosen to represent the character in my dream is easy to understand. But the purpose of the character itself is not so easy, nor is the fact that she couldn't quite explain to me what she was trying to explain. Why would my subconscious mind linger on something like that?

I enjoy remembering so many of my dreams lately, and hope to see them in the future under a more enlightened point of view. But if not, at least they make for good stories.


Robot me

So here's the latest in my subconscious stream of sleep sagas.

My first memory is of standing near the produce at the grocery store, where I witnessed the murder of two people. A girl stood nearby. I think she had a ninja sword in her hands. I could see into the laundry room just a few feet away (you know, the grocery store laundry room), and there were the two men, lying on the floor, side by side, with no heads. At least not attached. One man the girl hated, but the other was apparently her boyfriend, and she seemed pretty sad about having killed him. I looked at the head of the boyfriend. It looked back at me, then shut its eyes again. I looked away, then looked at the head. It looked back at me. Woooooh. Creepy. So I picked up the head and took it home with me. I showed the family, and warned them that the head liked to bite people. He had sharp teeth, too. But we had fun with the head. Soon it had grown arms and could swing around the place like a monkey, so I didn't have to carry it everywhere. Okay, Flash Forward.

I was a robot, built by a normal suburban family. They were normal, and they lived in the suburbs. I was tall and had cool features, like the ability to jump around the room with out getting tired and the ability to get a sore throat at times.

One day I was in the garage jumping around the room without getting tired. My little brother Michael was practicing parking the car on the driveway outside. I could tell because the garage door would get pushed inward every few moments, splintering the wood on the inside. Angelina Jolie, a member of the family, had just got home and was walking through the garage when she suggested that I study up on martial arts or acrobatics, so that when I'm jumping around all energetically I might throw some backflips in there. It seemed like a good idea for a change. I was always studying stuff like world history and the behaviors of modern societies (in my attempt to become assimilated to human society). I got a sore throat. Topanga from Boy Meets World came over and asked Angelina if she could use the restroom. That was pretty weird. She took a really long time, too. I didn't see her for the rest of the dream. Flash Back.

The head, which now had half a body, was swinging on some trees outside. He swung down to where some boys had been jerryrigging their own robot outside of their garage. It was an ugly robot, and it didn't have a face yet. The head/half-body swung down and taped the face to the robot, completing the project. The robot, which looked like scrap metal assembled haphazardly together, started jumping around the garage, as the boys sang along to a song playing in the background. At key moments there would be a break in the song lyrics, at which time the robot would chime in, saying "hot dog." The boys were delighted. Their robot was a success.


Haiku of truth

Pensive I sometimes
look while secretly thinking
of nothing at all


Clot or not

I have very little facial hair today. I shaved it off yesterday afternoon in an attempt to make a good impression at my job interview. It was a mistake I made just moments before leaving for the interview. Fifteen minutes after cutting and nicking myself various times, I was pulling into the office building still bleeding from the side of my face. I used my right hand to shake hands, and to give my resume to the lady. My left was busy holding tissue up to my face. The whole interview went about as well as I could have possibly expected when considering that my face spent the entire twenty minutes bleeding into a wad of toilet paper in my hand, which I kept tight against my cheek as though I were trying to hold my face together. I've read several of those "Things To Not Do In An Interview" lists. I think bleeding was one of them. For some reason, bleeding into tissue paper kind of puts you off your guard for those tough interview questions. Also, next time you are in an interview with your hand on your face to keep in the blood, don't pull the tissue away to see if you are still bleeding or not. Cuz you are, and now you're making a scene of it.

I stopped bleeding about an hour or so after getting home. Nice going, face. Way to ruin it for the rest of me. No one's going to hire you if you bleed on them. It's considered "unprofessional."


What dreams may come

So there I was, just now, trying to get past the turnstile near the guard, when I realized that I couldn't go in with food and drink. I turned to finish it off before going in. Another guard, young, tried to snatch it from me and throw it away. I told him I wanted to finish off the drink first. He asked me if I was trying to pull one over on him. I said no. But he was right. The cup was empty. What was I trying to pull? So I took it over to the trash where another kid threw in a whole cupcake tray with cupcakes still in them. Maybe they were smashed and without frosting, and they were a little tougher than normal, but throw them away? So I reached in to the bin and worked one out of the tray to enjoy before going through that turnstile. It's not often that I get to eat anything in my dreams. Usually the sight or thought of something wonderful is enough to wake me up (sadly). But this cupcake wasn't good enough to do that. But it did leave me with black cupcake all over my fingers, which I was working on quite contently, when our neighbor friend Ian came running toward us from the other side of the gate. He ran through the turnstile and whizzed by us, telling us to run, because the cops were coming. As though filling some bizarre quota, the cops were always coming around in large groups looking for kids to arrest. To pick on was more like it. Anyone who got picked up during one of these raids was severely beaten by these cops before being taken to spend the night in the jail. The setting was in the early 1900s. I could tell because everything was sepia-colored.

So we ran. I got about ten steps when I caught up to Richard. He was holding back, trying to find me. What a good brother. We took off. He knew a way back so we took it, each running along the edge of a large gutter filled with water, a sort of drainage tunnel that ran through the park and came close to where we lived. But I was running on the opposite side of the gutter from Rich. I should have followed more closely. Cop cars were now lining the street up ahead. Some cops were chasing down kids. Others were waiting by their cars for kids to run by. Kids like me. Richard's side of the open drainage tunnel was too far for the cops to bother. They would never catch Richard anyway. Not in that or any other dream. He always seems to be okay. I couldn't turn around because of the cops on our tail, but running forward just took me past a nearby set of police cars. And they definitely saw me. And I definitely don't run fast in my dreams. And that was when I thought to myself, "Self, you are faster than this, by at least a little bit. Is this situation not dire enough for you? Or are you perhaps dreaming? If you are dreaming, it is possibly unnecessary to get beaten down by these cops."

So I forced myself awake. Forced awakening is my only well-developed subconscious superpower. I have been different superheroes before, but I have yet to hone their skills. When I was the Pan (at least twice now), I could hover just out of reach of Captain Hook and his pirates. But I couldn't ever get comfortably high enough. It took a great deal of mental concentration to just stay afloat, as though I were low on pixie dust. I guess I don't make a very good fairy boy. When I was invisible Super-Batman, I could fly much higher and faster than before, but I kept crashing into things and needing to hold on to things that I flew by to help direct by flight path. And people could see me anyway, because almost everyone else had super powers in that dream, too. Except the orphan kids I took those lollipops to. They thought I was great.

So I wish that I could completely control my dreams. That would be fun, though they would never turn out so creative. As it is, I have only learned to bring my subconscious self to an omniscient enough state to hit the abort button on the subliminal process, screeching all rapid eye movement to a halt and jolting me awake, sometimes violently, like a crash landing. I guess that makes me like the Launchpad McQuack of the dream world.