Sunday, August 30, 2015

Strange Nightmares: Death by Orange Juice. (dreams)

Well... I seem to be making everyone's day today! I went to a party and mingled successfully. I purchased flowers and a card for our summer class to sign for our teacher and that went over far better than I'd expected. I also seemed to make a couple of random people on the internet happy. I've been flailing, socially, for the past couple of years so this has been unusual.

But I have secrets... dark secrets, which torment my artistic soul! And they express themselves in nightmares! (I've also been watching Pewdiepie's horror vines and eating over-ripe mangoes just before bed. I need to stop.)



THE BABY SNAKE ESCAPE

This reptile rack by Neodesha is available for purchase on their website.

DREAM #1
I'm in a dark, sterile room.

Bare-bulbed fluorescent lights flicker overhead. This is my home, but it's under construction. It's located in my parents' basement, but they had to smash a lot of walls and do a lot of cleaning in order to create a work space like this for me.

I like the location. I wouldn't have when I was younger, but now it feels secure. Now, I am keenly aware of the shortness of time we have to spend with each other. Regardless of how long childhood seemed and how it seemed as though I'd never get older and achieve a sense of independence... I certainly have. The desperation to appear "mature" is something I've outgrown.

I feel a little overwhelmed by the clutter and ugliness of the room. The room is practical in design, but my disorganization makes the area less practical to work in.

I have a lot of work stations and peg boards with tools hanging on them. I'm using this room to try and earn some extra income while I go to college. I've been breeding reptiles in here and it's been going well, although I haven't tried to sell anything yet.

As I walk around and assess the place, I realize how I'd forgotten that I'd had so much to do down here! I've been so busy elsewhere. I've got repairs to do... animals to feed... and dozens of baby snakes are bursting out of every drawer!

I wasn't organized or time-sensitive enough to put all of my snakes' eggs or the gravid live bearing parents in drawers of an appropriate size. Tiny little snakes can potentially squeeze out of all kinds of air cracks in my rack systems and I'm worried about where they're all going.

I start getting organized by lining up and stacking eight tiny Kritter Keepers.



Tiny snakes are in constant motion all over the room. I try to visually take them all in, but even that's impossible. 

I grab a nearby handful of the neonates, put each into its own individual cage and arrange those cages according to species. 

I look at the neat stacks of Kritter Keepers. I look around at have left to do and I laugh! The futility of it is absurd! Snakes are everywhere! I'm never going to be able to successfully rearrange them!- but I want to at least start putting these wrongs right. 

I start to feel pretty bad about unleashing this on my parents' basement when I know they're giving me this space as a reluctant favor. (They don't like snakes.)

I open up one drawer. At least five baby snakes are in there. Each are as narrow as a third of my finger. A thick layer of jelly-like placenta oozes down to the lower corners as I hold the drawer open. The babies start coming out. I didn't have a place to put them planned out. My cages are all used up. I start thinking of makeshift cages I could make.

I think I have some tupperware around here somewhere...

I grab three of the snakes trying to leave the drawer, so they don't fall onto the concrete- but I don't know where to put them!

I'm entranced by the remaining snakes in the goop... they're definitely alive, but I'm nervous for them. Should I break them out of their filmy placentae?

Now I'm stuck holding the drawer open awkwardly. Some baby snakes are crawling on the tracks that allow the thing to slide in and out. I'm certainly not going to crush them, but I've got snakes in my other hand that are trying to escape. I start thinking about building a large rack system, but I'm just stuck there. I really wish someone would come down here to help me, but that's unlikely. I've got a couple of weird side show attractions down here for people to come look at, but the visitors don't come often enough to help put all these baby snakes away.

INTERPRETATION #1

I've almost finished reading a dream dictionary which suggests that baby pets can symbolize the feeling of having taken on more than one can handle. This dream is reproducing feelings of having been overtaken, but I don't know why I'd be having a dream like this lately. I have nothing but time. I'm so leisurely, I can't stand it much longer.

Maybe this dream was a leftover set of feelings due to the summer class I was taking. Even then though, I didn't feel very pressured.

Maybe I'm so bored, my subconscious figures I could use a little bit of practice for the real-world feelings that are about to come when the fall semester starts. Maybe I feel as though I've got so many little ideas for new projects that I can't handle them all! That is definitely true, and it puts a little bit of joy back into my life, which has been much, much too serious in the past several years.

This dream ties in with another one I had the same night in that there's an appreciation for what older family is doing or has gone through and an awareness of how little time there is in our lives.



DEATH BY ORANGE JUICE

Image by lisasolonynko on Morguefile.com

DREAM #2

There's carnage going on inside my father's mansion; a battle of drawn swords and armor clanks and howls inside his castle walls. I'm about 10 years old.

Someone picks me up and carries me into a nook. I don't feel safe though. All someone has to do is round the corner and we're dead.

My caretaker, a woman I don't know very well, puts up a force field over the nook. It looks as though we're staring out of a window into the night.

There's food here... and water. The temperature is fine. I start to feel safer. Perhaps I even feel a little guilty that there's so much carnage going on outside. My father is participating in it and I'm not helping him.

Then a doctor enters the force field. He looks exactly like Mahatma Gandhi, but that's where the familiarity ends. I don't know him, but he has a professional air to him. He carries a medical bag and is calm, quick and efficient.

He immediately opens up the triage medical kit. He is wearing neutral colors, not necessarily fighting for one side or the other. The soldiers generally wear colorful coats of arms.

He take up some of the orange juice in the plastic jug into his syringe. He grabs my leg- not roughly, but firmly.

"So... he's at it again. So much blood on his hands. So much..." he says.

Is he going to kill me?

I hesitate too long. He injects the juice into a vein in my calf. It takes seconds. He exits the force field. My caretaker hasn't done anything, but holds me still. What's going to happen to me? Did I really just sit here and allow someone to kill me? Did they both conspire to murder me? I am confused and angry!

INTERPRETATION #2

This dream was definitely influenced by watching a Let's Play of "Mad Father," a video game in which a little girl's father is conducting ruthless, cruel experiments on people in their mansion's basement. My father in my dream clearly wasn't my real father- didn't look like him, didn't act like him, didn't have the same house, etc., but I had archetypal role expectations attached to the dream father.

So the dream father partially represents the situation my real father was in (fighting a battle in the dream and fighting a fatal disease in real life) when I had the feelings related to how I felt in the dream (sort of helpless like the child, surrounded by bewildering chaos, and extreme betrayal and suspicion when I was injected with orange juice).

Orange juice. What an ordinary thing to end a person's life.

I've been wondering whether or not the hospital my father was in had a large role in his death. I guess it had to since they're the people our society assigns the role of healer to.

But whether or not those "healers" are actually capable of doing anything about our expectations for them to be able to cure is obviously limited by current technology. In other words, the medical field's abilities are totally separate from our desperately attempting to assign them the responsibility for keeping us alive.

He definitely went to a couple of negligent doctors who gave him some inaccurate diagnoses. My family of origin didn't really say much to me about that until quite a long while afterwards.

After he worsened, apparently my parents received opinions from multiple doctors who agreed that his disease was severe and inoperable, and that we had no choice but to make him as comfortable as possible (which wasn't very. He'd been pain for a long time).

The thing I keep speculating about is whether or not the nurses or doctor gave him so much pain killer that he died. That's a shocking thing to keep thinking about, but I do think about it and don't know who else to say it to. It's certainly not something I have proof of or can investigate. I don't think I'm in a position to fairly accuse, so I'll just tell you, fairly anonymously right here. I don't trust nurses or anyone else just because of their position or just because they've held the same position for a long period of time... in some cases, people become especially untrustworthy because they've held on to the same position for a long period of time.

This dream seems to be putting me in his place, or at least requiring me to feel suspicion about a death that's close to me (my own death, in the dream), and especially in relationship to a medical professional in a chaotic situation. He was distracted- I was distracted. There was just one set of very busy people who seemed to be highly accustomed to it all!

Is there anything I can do about my suspicions? No. Should I? No, I don't think so. For one thing, the hospital had us sign a vaguely-worded document saying that we acknowledged that all they were going to do was to "make him comfortable" and that the doctors weren't going to continue taking measures to treat the disease. I don't see what choice any of us were given. Several doctors said repeatedly that there was nothing more they could do. They told us many times that they weren't going to treat him, because it was impossible for them to.

But if they did have us sign this document, and then almost immediately turn around and give him so many pain killers that he died prematurely- even if it was only a day too soon- I am, of course, very, very angry.

If they knew he was experiencing so much physical turmoil that they had no choice to give him a lethal dose of pain killers, they needed to tell us, clearly and directly, outlining everything in detail. I think it would be monstrous not to, regardless of any amount of professional experience, occupational practice or calm involved.

But I also know that when someone close of us who has been sick for a long time does die, we want to insist that the people we care about aren't going to really be gone- and by extension, that a person we cared about would have lived forever if we had only tried harder to keep them with us. Maybe that instinct is pushing our species toward ever-greater feats in medical science. Maybe one day, we'll have enough technological prowess to prevent us from dying. But that time certainly isn't now.

After multiple medical professionals tell you someone is going to die "any time now," it's best to believe them. I have little to no knowledge about medical science, so it isn't fair for me, a layman, to jump to conclusions, especially not such extreme ones. I don't want to waste my life being angry. But I question what happened there, and I question the wisdom of our society to ask us all to die in hospitals when we get older. I know that at least a couple other of my grandparents/step grandparents died in hospitals as well. I'm sure that if I'm lucky, it will be my fate as well, along with the fate of most of my friends and other family.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I'm playing around with the interwebs! (quick announcement)

Hello, out there!

I've changed a couple things around with my blogging stuff and wanted to link and condense them for you.

Aside from this format right here on Blogger, I thought I'd try out some other things. They could all end up being terrible. I thought I would see which of these ideas work and which don't. Maybe none of them will! I dunno.

YouTube. I've been thinking of doing my ranting out loud instead of typing all the time. Sometimes, I think that reading long bricks of text is too much.

Here's my first video:
"Are you an asshole?"
I have several topics that I would like to ramble about aimlessly- preferably without having to get out of bed before noon. I do not have a computer at the moment and my video-making app does not allow me to edit or go over 5 minutes.

Etsy. I have really been wanting to just goof off and relax with clay and felting and other silly little crafts. So far I have one uroplatus phantasticus in the store. I don't know if I'll put more in there or not.

Zazzle. I've also been wanting to get half-decent at digital painting, but that will require a lot more effort and expense (and therefore procrastination. Heh). I have at least three projects for other people that I need to get serious about, but I also hope to start painting a few of my dreams. If and when I get around to this, the designs will end up in this Zazzle store. In the meantime, I put a pair of very old pencil drawings up.

Instagram. I frequently take pictures of little plants and nature here in California. My phones and computers seem to fry a lot, so I like to have an online account where I can both share and keep them.

Facebook. I have a lot of mixed feelings about social media, but I decided to finally get an official page instead of just an account. So now, people don't have to send a friend request or do that awkward... "Follow" thing in order to get Facebook updates.

Like my page!

I'm trying out a lot of other things that are even less well-prepared to see the light of day. It's especially frustrating to see my own disorganization with the whole Lost Atlantis thing. I've been trying to work up an online character Bible using Weebly, but I'm not sure how that's turning out. I might need to do a physical Bible first. I need to invest a lot more in the drawings and map-making and editing and charting. I'll actually get serious about making a set of of covers suitable for printing once I've finished all six of them. I think I want to wait until I've interlinked them all very carefully before thinking about releasing them. I'll have to interlink the first book better with the other five as well. I'm planning to do the first draft of book four after finals this December. My mind is a blank so far, aside from the most basic outline and elements. I've been rereading Harry Potter to try and get better insights into creating a fun world and trying to figure out Star Trek to get insights into creating enjoyable conflict based on distinct characterization.

And school starts in a couple of days! I really wish that I had read all my textbooks this summer and had studied for the GRE earlier. Pfft.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fairy turtles saving my office building from flooding! (dreams)


Photo by L. Shyamal, animal courtesy Saleem Hameed (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons


DREAM

I'm a worker... underpaid, untrained and a little bitter... who's supposed to prevent a total electrical system collapse in a building used by an organization I'm working for. If I don't figure this out, the consequences will be mine to bear- and mine alone. I'm expected to be able to do this all by myself. I think my bosses and coworkers are expecting miracles from me. Still... I do feel a strong need to prove myself worthy of employment.

I guess.

The real problems is how I don't at all feel invested in this place or these people. They're pleasant, but very superficial. I don't trust them for a second, although I feel bad for admitting my cynicism and bad faith.

Despite my awareness that these are assumptions I'm making and that my feelings could be clouding my judgment, I can't help secretly having a very cool attitude toward this job, and having a self-protective attitude isn't my preference for the things I do or the people I work for.

I know I'm capable of doing the work as well as anyone else at my pay scale. To be honest, I think I'm better qualified than most considering what I'll take for compensation.

While I'm thinking to myself, I'm also going over some of the leads I've been given about how to stop the entire building from flooding and costing the company an untold amount of damage. The company has backed up what information they can in their computer systems and fortunately, that's most of the information they need. But there's still a ton of older paperwork and other older equipment that they want to keep that'll be lost if the water rises more than a foot.

So far, the carpet is just a little soggy in some of the rooms I'm gathering information in. It oozes and squishes under my footsteps.

The more rooms I go into to look for clues, the fewer I find. My options are narrowing.

By chance, I find an office worker in an empty conference room that's starting to flood. I sit in on part of his presentation. Most of it goes over my head. He's willing to give me a little more advice though. He shape shifts into a couple different men with different experiences and perspectives. He has quite a bit of seniority than me and more skills too. I wish he'd take over for me, but he likewise has faith that I'll be able to figure out how to save the 10-20 office floors in time.

These people are absolutely nuts if they think they can depend on me to resolve some sort of freak accident that's never happened before.

But they do! They all do, him included. I thank him and take his lead. One of the scientists who used to work here should have left some sort of explanation for what's going on.

I figure out what office this person used to work in and where that person's stuff was moved to. I manage to dig out some old notes and materials they left behind when they moved on. I have a hunch that a homemade VHS with handwritten labels about "water" and "ocean exploration" and "tidal flooding" is going to have exactly what I need to hear.

I go from room to room looking for a VHS player. I don't think I'm going to find one that works. I try a couple out. One does turn on, and I'm so excited! But I'm even more scared now. If this doesn't give me something that works, I don't have any other ideas and I'm running out of time. This is one of the upper levels. And if this level is beginning to get squishy, I don't know what the lower ones look like by now and I don't have time to check.

I check the brown ribbon under the black plastic covering. The ribbon looks a little crinkled- not a good sign. But I cross my fingers and put the tape into the VCR player, glowing a calm, blank cerulean blue.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear that familiar hiss, blasting out my eardrums at VOL 80! I turn it down as I watch those flecks of black and white and gray shimmer.

When the image clears up and the pixelated "PLAY" vanishes from the screen, I see a grainy home video of  an ocean. The tape cuts in and out. I can't quite make out what's being said, but it's hardly out of the ordinary. It's someone rambling. I need that key information to come up and she's not being up front with it. I can hear a voice that sounds like a woman... a strong, in-control woman... it might be narrated by Captain Janeway from Star Trek.

Then I turn around. I see a lumpy, crude, green plastic statue, which has begun to spout water from dozens of pores.

That wasn't there a minute ago...

But this is the problem. It wasn't in the video at all! I'm too late to repair the system. I don't know how I'm supposed to stop this odd statue. If it keeps going, it's going to completely flood the room and there's electronic equipment all over the floors. I'm especially worried for all the extension outlets that are practically glued to the floor by all the gnarled, plastic-coated wiring- stiff with age and layers of greasy dust.

Then a green turtle with bright blue and light pink highlights flies around the corner and onto the statue!

I have such a good feeling about this!

It begins to lap up the water coming out of the statue.

Then another turtle flies up to the statue to drink the statue's gushing tears. Then two more! Then dozens of these green, blue and spotted pink flying turtles- perhaps hundreds! come flying into the room.

I know I don't have to worry about that strange statue's leakage anymore. I forget about my problem and marvel at these beautiful creatures that have come to our rescue. They belong here and so did the statue that feeds them. Everything was just a little... disorganized.

INTERPRETATION

I've been having a lot of problems recently with trying to contain rumors some people are spreading about me at school. I believe that the person spreading the rumors is the same man as the one represented by the statue (a very bold, nasty passive-aggressive with a good online reputation... he's been around a long time too. His being a statue represents these aspects of him well- along with the impression that there are "tears" spurting out from him). But there are several possibilities that I hope to follow up with and sort out in the next few months.

A messy situation was triggered in my first semester at my new school. Someone (probably more than one someone, at least one of which works for my school in the summertime) spread a rumor about me about 2 weeks ago to the scientist I was volunteering for.

It's undeniable from his sudden change in demeanor toward me and by reading between the lines of our communications that it is the exact same rumor that originated in the school's drama department.

Of course the theater students are causing drama. They're certainly not going to be spending their time doing anything productive for society- I've learned that, for sure.

But I think the fairy turtles are sort of like white blood cells... surrounding an impurity and incorporating it into the ordinary processes of the system.

I'm tempted to openly accept my own very harsh, emotionally-driven criticisms of these people... I've even had dreams in which I simply stand there and verbally berate them individually. But that isn't really the truth of who they are or their function in society and the educational system, is it? I'm only going to be able to see where actors and people of their sort fit in to the overall picture of humanity when I'm less angry. Much less angry.

The bitter bite to the first part of my dream's tone comes from my feeling about colleges in general. I dislike the largeness of the college system. I dislike how easy it is to manipulate it around and sneak through formal processes to get one's own way. I don't like being aware of that huge gap and I don't like seeing others use it when I don't always think I should. The feeling of a free-floating mistrust about the organization in the dream echos this.

I dislike how a large college breeds cliques stereotypes. I resent that trapped feeling I get when I have to go from A to B rigidly in a sea of thousands of other people. The dream echos this in the feeling of mistrust I have about the people who work for this place too, and not just the organization itself.

But I do feel that I'm being compensated enough to work with them. The dream is quite accurate in creating circumstances that simulate how I feel about these things in waking life.

The repairs I'm expected to do on the office building seem to represent the diplomacy and charm and patience I need to exude if I'm going to continue working with the college institution- sketchy as it is to me. It isn't horrible. Concessions always have to be made, and I'm about 70% satisfied with this temporary position. 70% isn't bad at all.

Here's what the flooding building with the squishy, floors represents: tension.

The dynamics surrounding the rumor-spreading are complicated. They include many players. But there is a map of human interaction burned into my mind that is as clear as glass. I don't understand how it would be possible for me to misread their emotion and changes of thought and emotion- they wear it so plainly on their sleeves.

I have generally ignored these sorts of people who are into gossip and group think- their obvious misunderstanding, their ignorance and their questionable ethics... probably because I've gotten used to being treated rudely by people here. After a hard day in my new college, I returned to the part of town I used to work in. I was treated with kindness and respect. And I was surprised at how alien the feeling was. One often hears that all one has to do to be treated well is to treat other people well. That is naive. (Although I think it does bear true under ordinary, day-to-day circumstances about 80% of the time.)

I've stepped back so far from physical reality and into my books that I've even found it comical that people I've either never had a conversation with or have known for less than a few months believe that despite their lack of information, they have still grasped enough patterns of the universe to be qualified to tell me who I am. Some weird part of me enjoys watching this.

I have generally just gone about my business, concentrating on my schoolwork since it hasn't been particularly harmful for them to believe whatever they want. But now, it's undeniable that their rumor spreading has begun to damage my ability to function in my new major.

Whoever spread this old rumor to has impaired my ability to try and get one of the three letters of recommendation I need for grad school in a STEM field. So in this case, I would like to try and hold whomever is responsible accountable for the damages they've caused. Now, after working for free for a month, I may have to consider that a burned bridge.

This rumor isn't true, but can't be considered defamation. Why? Because the sweet irony is, that after I left my old college theater department because of people's narcissism (and other personality traits that just annoy me a little, but aren't inherently destructive), and after living with a roommate who plastered pictures of herself from ceiling to floor, and after tolerating absolute insanity and pointless manipulation from the only acting teacher in my hometown... someone has decided that I am a narcissist.

Now I know why I was warned not to move here by  my old customers, my boss and even my dad. I'm developing the same impression of Californians that they had alluded to... impulsive... irrational... shallow... a lack of clearly outlined ethics... rule-breaking... two-faced and over-willing to indulge their own feelings at the expense of others'.

This stream of cluttered, angry thoughts I'm having is represented in the dream by my quest for others' presentations and advice, including seeking out a narration about an old memory- one acquired on a rocky, open ocean.

I'm going from room to room and level to level looking for that one bit of information that's going to solve my problems. In the dream, that bit of information never comes. I think that's how it's going to be in reality too.

Those fairy turtles and that statue- that was reality in the dream, despite how I was looking for something in the technology- something ordinary, easy to understand, and easy to find and trace and plug in and plug out and move. The answer is probably not going to be as simple and direct as I've been hoping for.

The woman who started the rumor fits my new narcissist-catcher bully profile to a tee. This grad student... a white woman of about 30 in a career track and lifestyle emphasizing soft skills who I had to work with... kept making passive aggressive jabs about my being narcissistic within the first two days of having met me. She also mentioned that she was in the process of getting a divorce. (That also fits the narcissist-catcher profile perfectly!)

I have to assume that she has had a lot difficult relationships both in and outside of the drama department. I also assume that she sought quick and easy answers for in trendy self-help books- an especially useful little trick for someone who has spent years in drama dealing with people who spend their entire lives on their own feelings.

I was that person! How embarrassing...

I am sitting in a cafe right now. A foo-foo one. And in this cafe, I saw four white women... pregnant... middle management sorts... all backstabbing all their friends and neighbors and coworkers. All four people who have taken it upon themselves to bring new people into the world in their own image, without consent- even knowing that their children will suffer and die... all four of these white women took turns backstabbing their friends and acquaintances in the manner outlined in my post prior to this one.

They're a thing now. They're an easily stereotyped type of person here, like "bros" or "valley girls." I never knew what a "bro" or a "hipster" or a "bro-hoe" was until I moved here. But I guess some people really like to do and think the same things over and over and over again! There's nothing at all wrong with that... I guess it's expected. But it's something I haven't quite gotten used to yet, even after three years of trying to adapt to Southern California.

So this aspect of my life is like a waking nightmare in which you get everything you want and it isn't at all what you expected. I really, sincerely hoped that the experiences I had with all those crazy people in my former college theater department wouldn't happen to anyone else. I hoped that if I told other people about this narcissism idea that I had never heard anyone in my hometown discussing, that we would start recognizing a need to automate customer service jobs to eliminate people having to act as sitting targets for narcissistic rages and devaluation, that we would avoid manipulative and abusive relationships, and that spreading the narcissism meme would help everyone to arrange their lives in a manner that would reduce their suffering. In my old vision from three years ago, even narcissists would know to self-correct and reevaluate their delusions and grandiosity if the meme spread far enough.

Now, in this fun house mirror I'm living in, I see clear drawbacks! Our social system just doesn't work that way. We can't trust that everyone or even most people are going to accurately digest the models for reality that others discover and hand to them. They won't. They can't. They have other focuses. And that, in and of itself, is perfectly fine.

But God, how disappointing it is.

When idiots get a hold of a good idea... it's like multiplying by zero. Everything involved in the equation just turns into idiocy. I don't like to think of people like that. I'm just pissed that this promising idea I had has become terrible and that my faith in human nature is apparently so misplaced.

It isn't as though I don't understand the temptation to label people you don't understand with witch hunting terminology. Of course the idea of narcissism is a real thing. But sometimes... people will go crazy in different ways and in different degrees. I consider this 30 year old, non-religious, emotionally-oriented white woman who has relationship problems' narcissist-catcher bully accusations and misunderstanding to be a very low level type of crazy that I don't fault her for as someone who is going through relationship problems. I've been that person too. It's like I'm paying out my dues for bad karma. (I don't believe in karma, but I'm exercising my poetic license.)

My apparent enemies' heightened attention to their own emotions still doesn't make it right to try and damage my education and day to day functioning.

In waking life, I've been running around trying to get leads on how to solve this problem. I've been planning on taking action.

Janeway's narration about the open ocean represents an older woman who tried to mediate the problem but didn't quite solve it.

But my dream suggests that I can also sit back and trust that goodness will prevail. This is a cycle in a large system that's simply gone a little out of balance. There are factors I'm not aware of (the flying turtles) that will balance out things that have been in this organization's structure long before I was (the statue and the old equipment). And they're a lot more invested.

All I'm interested in, in both the dream and in real life, is to solve the problem, to do my job, and to prepare for the better offers that will eventually arise (grad school).