Dream Journal

3 of 6 Dreamcards

Waking up hours earlier than I should, with only 5 hours sleep. I remember having six distinct dreams, but I know from past experience if I wake up to write them down I won’t be able to fall back asleep. But if I fall asleep, I almost certainly won’t remember them. On returning to sleep I envision the dreams as a row of cards, each with a title and the single most powerful image from it. I managed to remember half of them, though strangely they are not in any order or sequence. Typically, I can remember one part of a dream and reconstruct the narrative.

I’m attending a stage reading event where my Nana is one of the presenters. We have a pleasant conversation across the table from each other under the big tent. We depart together at the end.

Sitting backwards on a bus, a kid has a hand over his face. Kids are keeping other kids in strict lines this way. There’s a social order aspect I don’t fully understand, but find troublesome.

RFC. is a “request for comments” and an in-joke. Among internet engineering nerds, it alludes to the idea of elderly people’s life stories being absorbed into a universal hive mind (or Akashic records) at the end of their lives. It’s an old trope creatively and bizarrely mapped onto a modern interface. Lives, in this sense, are additional “comments”.


Gluttony and Chastity (in the Brain)

'Firefox Browser Tabs Contest' on FlickrHow many tabs do you have open? No, go check now.

How many of those are things that you’re going to read? Blogs, Wikipedia articles, things linked from friends, searches for places or people or events you heard about somewhere, information of every thinkable sort. There’s a lot of it to be had. When tabbed web browsing was first introduced in the MultiZilla extension for Mozilla browsers in April of 2001, the 21st-century web browser—both the program and the person using it—came of age. A web program that can only view a single website in a single window at a time is ideal for modem connections, who can’t handle much else. Well, tabbed browsing evolved for everyone with something better. Even Microsoft eventually figured that one out (right now we’re all glaring at you, IE7 users). I blame the epidemic of neglected tabs and… well, neglected tasks in this country on these developments. There’s now too much information out there for us to handle with ease. In the interests of full disclosure, I am very familiar with this tab/information overload. I suppose that’s why LifeHacker evolved.

Recently I stopped doing some of these things. Well, I stopped doing them for isolated 30-60 minute periods during my day. There’s a thing I discovered called I-Doser that I started experimenting with, and it’s a stimulating break from much of the stimulation. It’s based on binaural beats that are designed to affect the mind, so that you’re on drugs. Pretty much. You know, drugs? I’ve had some experience in the past working with binaural beats, starting with CoolEdit in 1998 and then Brainwave Generator in 2003. For those who don’t care about those last two factoids, they weren’t for you… they were to prove my cred to those in the know. To those not in the know, allow me to explain why this whole thing isn’t as stupid as it sounds.

It’s based on our lovely hominid brain structure. Two sides of the brain, each synced with the other; two sides receiving signals from the different sides of the body. They sync up with each other at regular intervals, depending on what state you’re in and how active your brain is. Solving math problems is Beta, pretty high at maybe 30-40 cycles/second. Normal operation might be between 15&20 Hertz. A light siesta would be Alpha about 11-8 Hz, and then—my favorite—Theta, where dreams and daydreams happen, ideally about 6-3.5 Hz, where the world slows down and external awareness nearly drops away. Then of course there’s Gamma, where external awareness does drop away and people like me tend to snore. It happens. The odd thing is that at any given time we have an eternally variable state, where all four co-exist. The brain’s internal communication is itself communicating on different levels. Weird that such a thing needs to be, no?

But back to the drugs, anyways. The idea behind brainwaves is simple and that is that if you can stimulate only one side of the brain (by stimulating one side of the body—like one ear, one eye) and signal the left and right at a specific pulse, eventually the brain can sync up and replicate the pulse. 6Hz dreamstate? Voilà, an enchanting 6Hz pattern. I-Doser takes this notion up a conceptual notch and presumes “well, if you could read a brain and see what kind of state it’s in, and then replicate that, couldn’t you essentially copy that state/mood/outlook/disposition from one brain to another? Well, let’s try it! And then sort-of maybe market it to teenagers as a substitute for recreational drugs.”

That last little bit is my own personal “disposition” on account of what I think of some of the descriptions on their webstore. Sure, I tried Peyote. I liked it. I maybe got some pleasant visuals and felt a bit out of it for the next hour, but possibly nothing that couldn’t be accomplished by a dose of lying quietly awake but with eyes closed, thinking intently of what kind of experience I was having. Who’s to say? Ultimately, that’s the reason this sort of thing is legal (and is going to stay legal, for the foreseeable future), is that the brain has a choice. You aren’t hypnotized, although it’s a little like it… one cannot make a hypnotized person do anything they have a moral objection to, nor to put themselves in bodily harm. Once something, like, say, Cocaine is inside you, your body pretty much has to deal with it till it’s processed. If I wanted to, I could take off the headphones any time. Or the browser too. Really.

Sometimes I just don’t want to.

photo credit to Inju, casamanita and Drunken Monkey on Flickr


All Over the Internet

I haven’t been paying attention. The place changes so fast.

I find it is a healthy and normal internet activity to Google oneself™. While some might characterize this activity as self-indulgent and call it “ego-surfing,” those 21st-century web-savvy digitally-enabled electronically-mobile young semi-professionals amongst us… we know better. We’ve got enough stuff up on The Internet that the FBI doesn’t even have to ask us where we were four nights ago—we’ll tell them. I’d suppose, what with all this stuff lying around right here on this website, that I am counted among the no-privacy generation.

So I should really know (since I’m in charge of it) what about me is going up on the web. That’s half the idea of this glot-thing: to manage digital identity—all my junk in one pile. I was amused yesterday when a friend stumbled on an article about how to dump your travel partner that featured one of my Flickr photos. They’re all Creative Commons licensed, which means anyone can use ’em so long as they say who took ’em. Then today, for whatever reason, I decided instead of googling my name I would google my flickr name.

An article about a check-cashing place moving into a neighborhood. A post about natural selection and environment. A thought piece about “The Creator Economy” and Web 2.0. A German guy writing about American fireman and beer (I think). Many, many other things. Occasionally I’ll get an email asking for my consent to use a photo, or (since that’s not actually necessary) just a notice that someone has decided to use it. People make things out of my photos. Bloggers find them daily. I am all over the internet.

I’m not unthankful for such attention, however inattentive. This is a definite ego-boost for my ego-surfing as you could’ve guessed. It’s just that I had no idea how much I contributed. I’m not a photographer; I take photos. A long time ago, I used to touch up every photo I’d upload. Made sure each one had the right framing and adjusted the light levels. Used to work carefully on ’em. Thing is, I learned to trust my camera-hand. Framing is easy enough with a program like Flock. I still take out red-eye and sometimes play around a bit more. But by and large, I choose laissez-faire snapshot photography over the careful and deliberate shot.

What I’m saying is that I like that The Internet likes me. I just always thought, way in the back of my head, that there’d be time for perfecting things. Digital identity means what you contribute, you contribute instantaneously, no filter. Living freely on the internet where all your friends and family and old girlfriends and possible stalkers can see you has it’s disadvantages. But it can be fun from time to time (when you damn well catch up).


Aqua Teen Huhwhat Force

Everyone is telling me about it. The instantaneously infamous Boston Aqua Teen LED Bomb Scare of ’07. No, I haven’t heard about it before. Wow, no really. No, I haven’t been reading “the blogs”. I understand it’s all over the internet. Yes, it’s pretty funny. What you people don’t understand is that although I have a lot of online presence and know a lot about a lot, I am not all over the internets like flies on butter. This may seem an unlikely and unusual state of existence, especially for those that knew me in college. Things change.

Let me explain something: I’m a longtime fan. Aqua Teen is made from distilled awesome. It’s one of the most original, hilarious, and culturally ingenious shows in production today. It’s gets bonus points for confusing the hell out of anyone over a certain age. Then take Homeland Security, which is of course one of the greatest dumb factories in current times. The supercollider built to smash these two together may one day obliterate us all when Jerry Springer is nominated to the Supreme Court. It is, by all contemporary definitions, a super-meme.

I don’t care. I don’t care. Why don’t I care? Lots of good reasons. Although on the internet, I am not of it. In real life I am in fact possessor of a rather convoluted and novel social life. I have come to favor this over previous pastimes—i.e. this computer. And while I’ve neither the time nor impetus to describe the IRL world further, I do feel satisfied asserting it’s existence.

Keep me updated about this bizarre Boston business. I’ll give you that special feeling you get from telling someone who should already know (but doesn’t).


Returning Books

I’m finished. Done for. Through.

More Than Human was a good book. I can understand why it came recommended. Mating Mind, while also a good book (I’m guessing) did not come as a recommendation. It came as a lucky charm. I didn’t read it all the way through, cause that book already gave me what I needed a long while ago. And it did that by granting me just enough smarts and insight to influence human events.

Whoa… wait, what? That’s right—influence human events. Not Machiavellian machinations, but memes between me and she-who-knows. Powerful transmissions between us transmuted into something else. Our brains interfaced on a level commensurate with the venerable 28.8 modem at first, and then we upgraded to wireless ISDN. Which—granted—isn’t the best service but if you live in Belize who’s going to complain? This’d be fine if I could read her blog (and by blog I mean mind) across town. But wireless service isn’t that great in Belize.

To stretch an already thin metaphor across a perilously dumb (Central American?) chasm, we file-shared. We traded ideas. We’d sit around going “Oh, have you heard of this?” “Do you know about that?” “How about other thing?” It got to the point where our… our “pings” were just… what’s true computer jargon for ‘clogging up the hard drive till you just really have to defrag cause you’re unwilling to delete all those really good, but infrequently-listened-to electronic/ambient tracks?’ That. We had that. Then I started reading “The Mating Mind,” synthesized it with my own experience, and wrote out what is I daresay a rather entertaining little essay. Proud of that.

Call it a confirmation bias, but it changed the whole tone and our… our talking, it took on a different character. Less communicating and more communication. Actually received a genuine transmission in the form of a book—sure you could guess which one by now. And I read it. And I’m done with it. I liked it, I liked what it said about the person on the other end of the line, but it didn’t change the fact that nowadays me and she-who-knows aren’t exactly practicing telegraph operators. So now I’m done, and now what?

Later today I’m returning the Mating Mind back to the library whence it luckily found me. Gluttony is a vice, you know… even for information. And the other book? Well, haven’t figured that out yet. But I’ve been getting an idea. Not on the internet, not in science fiction books loaned to you by nerdy girls, is anybody familiar with real psychic transmissions?

Glot Glot-glot

The Boringest

Somtimes a realization can spring upon you like a nightmare in the… in the night. And that realization for me is: I am boring.

Now this is not the kind of thing I like to admit openly. And in this day and age, where coolness is a personal commodity, this is not a paltry thing to admit. Especially for a 21 year-old. Especailly for me—I’m the coolest person I know. What does that say about the rest of you fuckers? Poor sad bastards. No wonder I’m so boring. I’m bored.

Has the world lost it’s luster? Or has the stunningly doldrum-hohum warm-piss wooden-shoehorn nature of this stucco’ed strip mall of a town finally begun to egg away at the colorful and wild-hearted edifice that is ME. Maybe this ham-it-up phone operator spchpiz-niz is getting to me—the need to speak clearly and in an elevated tone, having to to say things like “how may I direct your call?” and “I’m sorry, sir, I’ll have those bath towels delivered right away.” I need to do something soon, man, soon. I just used the word spchpiz-niz in a sentence and it made perfect sense.

I swear I have never listened to a rap song on purpose.

What brings on this tide of troubled thoughts to my toiling cerebrum? I’ll tell you: girls, goddamn… damn… girls. Being all, there, and all. They taunt me with their… making me think about them. That’s the best I can explain my feelings at the moment.

I am reminded of the cosmic precept (not quite a law), that is applicable in a situation such as mine. The more you need something, the more you feel you have to have it, the less likely you are to get it. Conversely, if you are terribly afraid of something and obsess about it happening it will happen. You’re going to lose your hair. The germs are going to get you.That airliner’s going down. And you know what—this isn’t just some cheeky-tongued blaaah-zay adage here. It deals with the primal force of manifestation, and a powerful force it is.

This is science (or philosophy—depending on how you view the very nature of consciousness). I’ll give you an example: you’ve heard of that cheesy R&B song, “I Beleive I Can Fly?” Well that song is full of crap, no one can fly unless they’re on a feakin’ plane. Now, that’s an example of negative manifestation: I believe it’s impossible ergo you can’t fly. And it’s true! See what I’m saying? This same principle keeps me from being suave with women: I know I could be reallly good. But I know I’m not. I think myself into doing the wrong things even though I know what the right things are, and this happens because… because…

Damn I’m bored. I need a hobby. Like web design. Or blogging. Wait—you know what, fuck that shit—I’m gonna go whittle a boat or something. I hate tha intarweb. I hate calling it ‘tha intarweb’. You heard me, Internet. I know you’re out there. Sending you’re little robots to check up on me alla time. Coming in 12:15, 12:30, 12:55, what do you think I am, a blog junkie? You’re lucky if you get one entry a week from me Internet. That’s cooler than Kottke can say, working his b.s. as a full-time gig. What a loser

Please, like me. If I blogged more would you like me? Would you grant me the graciousness of your pagerank, send me the beloved unique IP hits that pad my ego so? Tell me, in so many bits, that not only is my prose lively and un-boring but is worthy of actual readership? Well fine then. I’ll do that, and I’ll make it XHTML-compliant-valid-and-douched just like you told me to. But you gotta get me a girlfriend, Internet. You know the kind—smart, pretty, willing to engage in long bouts of smart-assness. And she better be from this country too you ass, stop sending me girls with surnames like Iripov or Kerpletzka. If you have to pay for it that’s cheating (I don’t know if you realize that, being a formless amalgam of machines and all). Also I’m cheap; tell her that just in case. Other than that she should know I don’t need her, but uh, you know it’d be nice. Just make it sound cooler than that when you say it. I don’t want to sound boring.