Wednesday, 6 August 2014

An anti-climax 2 years in the making

..or is it a sign of things to come? The whole Lucid dreaming thing grabbed me late in 2012 and refused to let go. For months and months instead of rolling over and going back to sleep I forced myself from my pit and scribbled the night-time hours away pouring the contents of my subconscious images into a pile of ever-expanding loose-leaf sheets of A4. Painfully detailed descriptions of sights, smells, sounds and emotions have been at first handwritten and then earlier this year digitised in the form of an online folder full of searchable dreams.

The aim was to one day be not only aware that I was dreaming but to be able to control it while it was still happening. I was skeptical at first, thinking 'surely that can't be possible' - isn't the art of dreaming akin to watching a pre-recorded video of the previous day's events? Isn't it your brain processing and sorting out memories from various incidents in your past and deciding what to keep and what to forget?

Be as it may, the day finally arrived in late July when I just happened to be being chased by zombies (I gave up watching the Walking Dead several months ago when they just wouldn't leave that blasted farm - "Get on with it already!"). The part of me that sees logic and reason in things kicked in and I suddenly stopped and said to myself "Hold on, there's no such things as zombies, this scene is make-believe.

You sir, are dreaming".

After the initial excitement from realising my goal had finally been reached I was left with the feeling that you get when you finally get to the end of a really good long book that you've been looking forward to finishing, but now you have nothing to read and the story is over. The lack of imagination on my part left me standing in a room scratching my head and wondering what the hell to do. "The world's your oyster" I was thinking, "You can do anything you want, so what's it to be?". The answer was a shrug of the shoulders and mild disappointment as I couldn't think of anything.

In the end I did think of something that would be impossible to do in a few seconds when I woke up and joined real life, and as I just happened to be stood by a 10th floor window I thought the greatest thing to do would be to jump out of it. I've had dreams of flying before but of course this one was different as it was my own decision to become airborne, not as the result of some 'pre-arranged video recording'. The feeling was exhilarating as I soared through the air but unfortunately it was over just as quick as it had begun. I was awake and already putting pen to paper.

A few days later I had another realisation that I was, in fact, asleep in my bed rather than standing at a Formula 1 circuit with my Dad. I couldn't think of anything to do this time either so I asked my Dad and he suggested I fix his broken television with my mind. There weren't any other ideas on the table at the time so Hey Presto, with a blink of my eyes and the click of my fingers I fixed my father's TV.

You're welcome, Dad. Glad to have been of service after 2 years of training.

Of course I shall continue to document things and hopefully develop to the stage where I can actually think of something interesting to do, albeit simple tasks. It was in fact pointed out to me by a colleague when I mentioned the second occurrence that "...you were at a Formula 1 race circuit and you couldn't think of anything out of the ordinary to do? With multi-million-dollar cars flying past you at high speed and there being only 24 people in the world at any one time who can drive them, you were stuck for ideas?"

It's funny how the mind works really, isn't it?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sweet dreams are made of this..

..and who am I to disagree? I've certainly travelled the world and the seven seas (subconsciously from the comfort of my own bed). Everybody's looking for something, and I've certainly encountered a hell of a lot of people while recording my nocturnal imagery. Some of them want to use me, and some of them do indeed want to be used by me. Unfortunately some of them want to abuse me but I've yet to encounter anyone who wants to be abused so that's where the song reference ends. The word 'Eurythmics' actually means 'A system of rhythmical physical movements' by the way so it would be perfect if I did indeed move about in my sleep.

For the best part of the last 6 weeks I've been recording the noises made at night, and the results so far are, well, less than expected unfortunately. The dreams themselves are still being written down in excruciating detail and are slowly gathering in a large pile of A4 paper on my desk that will soon need its own postcode. So it's slightly disappointing to find out that whilst encountering some of the most beautiful, intriguing, incredibly detailed, disturbing, and at times just plain weird scenes that wouldn't look out of place in a John Carpenter or Stephen King novel, the conscious efforts and sounds are little more than some rapid breathing or, in most cases, total silence.

What I have discovered however, is that the people who live around me do keep some strange hours and the walls get pretty thin in the middle of the night when there's little to no background noise. Doors, car engines, dustbin wagons, birds, wind (not always just my own), rain, thunder and even someone doing the washing up at 11.30 at night have been known to make an appearance.

I keep repeating the morning ritual though, in hope that one day there'll be something exciting to show for a crazy night of dreaming. The recording is copied over to the computer for further studying (using a free program called Audacity - pretty nifty software) and poured over meticulously by yours truly with a set of headphones on and a diary to hand. The notes themselves are being uploaded daily to my webspace for more of a backup purpose than public viewing, but if you're interested they're here.

The actual dreams themselves are still in the process of being typed up - I'm about halfway through doing them. My plan is eventually to turn them into a screenplay format with cast lists and scene descriptions so they're not ready just yet, but just as an example of how incredibly detailed and vivid they are, here's the "cast list" from last night's epic 8-page thriller:

- A poodle
- A receptionist
- A policeman
- A drunk
- Three of my friends from Kalgoorlie
- A bunch of strangers taking photographs
- A woman that I work with
- A bloke I work with
- Another bloke I used to work with

- Mum
- Dad
- My Stepmother
- My sister
- My sister's friend
- My teacher from secondary school
- A barmaid
- My great-aunt
- An airline pilot
- 3 Crocodiles (no, really)
- Angelina Jolie with a chainsaw (yeah that one really confused me)


 ..and that was all in one night. There must be someone out there that can make sense of all this garbage and help me interpret what's going on, or whether an appointment as an outpatient to the local funny farm is required.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A new telephone leads to advanced nocturnal scientific research

Number of times the word "interesting" appears in this post: 5

As with most casual bloggers, the first post in months usually begins with 'It's been a while since the last update but...' and the reason for me would be that honestly nothing interesting has happened since then. OK a few things here and there, and some stuff that would never be mentioned to Joe Public, but things have taken a rather interesting turn of late.

It all began with the careless handling of my beloved smartphone which led to a high-velocity hard impact involving concrete and the eruption of some rude words. The result was a large crack which greatly affected the touch-screen buttons and over a few weeks the crack got worse to the point where the device developed a mind of its own. Simply wishing to view the weather forecast or plan a bus journey resulted in me being presented with the football scores or being told how much money I have in the bank. All was not lost however, as by asking what time the number 85 bus was due told me I had some extra cash lying around, I decided to upgrade and purchase a replacement. Best thing I've done so far this year.

I'm not going to go on about the wonderful features of this new mobile (and they truly are wonderful); you can read up on it yourself by searching 'Nexus 5' if you're interested.

So, equipped with a fully-working mobile device, the older cracked model has been relegated to the 'just-about-works-but-not-sure-what-to-use-it-for' pile. I've thought about home security surveillance, a sandbox for testing rootkits, the usual pollava, but have settled on making it a dedicated nocturnal recording device.

I've been writing my dreams down for just over a year now. At first it was every few weeks between really vivid detailed sessions, but in the last few months I've been having on average one detailed dream every couple of days. By detailed I mean anywhere between 2 and 8 sides of A4 paper (and sometimes a sore hand from writing). They vary in content anywhere from explainable memories of the past few days involving people close to me, to the most bizarre and at times disturbing construction of incredibly random scenes. They're at times very personal and involve real people so they won't be featuring too heavily on this website, but I may put an abridged collection up some time in the future.

What's been playing on my mind lately is the question of what does a dreamer look (or sound) like to the casual observer? You see on television where people are locked up in dark rooms with night-vision cameras and sensors stuck to their heads, recording all kinds of interesting statistics. Alas, my technology does not cater for such a setup so I'm left with a recording device which is enabled when my head hits the pillow and disabled when I get up for my morning smoke.

There's only been 2 sessions so far and each of those has yielded results - on day one (or night, technically) I discovered that the sounds of my snoring range from something resembling a submarine's radar ping, to the clicking sound that the Predator makes in the 1988 Arnold Schwarzenegger film, shortly before it picks off its latest victim.

Day two was a good one - the dream involved me falling to my death in an elevator, upside-down, backwards and head-first (I mentioned that the content of these subconscious memories were rather peculiar, right?). Before I hit the ground I was jolted awake. After playing back the recording at the point where I was having the dream, I was expecting to hear maybe a grunt or some shuffling - and heard absolutely nothing. No breathing, no snoring, no grunts. This was slightly disappointing at first, then I got to thinking. If I wasn't breathing (or was not breathing enough), then maybe some part of the subconscious was thinking 'Hangon, we've got a problem here of lack of oxygen, we need to wake this guy up'.

Or I could be barking up completely the wrong tree, but it's certainly proving to be an interesting project which should yield some intriguing results.