Category Archives: Sacktime Cinema

Second Lucid Dream

Back in September I had my first lucid dream that lasted more than just a few seconds. This morning I had my second. I had fallen asleep thinking about a video I’d seen on twitter of what has become a common theme: someone raging at someone else. This particular one had a maskless redneck sucker-punching a young protester in a mask that was holding a sign. At some point in the dream I was in a crowded theater (no virus overtones) and I noticed that Cjaye, a former coworker, was sitting in the row behind me a little ways away. She waved at me and said it was funny running into me so soon after last time. I hadn’t seen her this century. I was pretty happy to see her though.

The movie started and it was a rehashing of the video I’d seen. I recognized it and that I had been thinking about it. I thought, “This must be a dream”, and with what has been the training I’ve been doing I looked at my hands. This time my right hand’s ring and index fingers were significantly smaller than the others, which were normal sized. I was happy that I didn’t have to stay in the theater, and I got up and walked towards the emergency exit near the screen and went out. I exited into what I thought looked like a big old 1950’s style apartment building. I headed to the exit and thought, “I want to go to the beach”. As I exited I was in a big city like New York, but I thought, “The beach is just around the corner”. The light slowly shifted from ambient directionless light to bright California sun coming from behind the next block of buildings, so I turned that way.

I got past the buildings into a rocky area with a lot of people that gave way to very granular sand with a pinkish hue. The beach was packed and there were two UPS trucks on the packed sand at the tideline, one the normal delivery truck, and one a bigger box-truck that had the Ryder logo and yellow coloring 3/4 of the way to the back, but the last 1/4 had the UPS logo. It seemed to be a demolition derby situation and the delivery truck was stuck pointed into the surf while the box truck did a big Tokyo-drift slide smacking its back end into the front of the delivery truck.

I started down the beach, weaving in-and-out between the revelers, and saw another stuck UPS truck with a frail grandmotherly-type woman sitting in a hole in the sand by the back tire. She was scooping out sand from her hole and sprinkling it on some sort of screen while her Whippet dog was standing on its hind legs helping sift the sand. It made me laugh and I kept going trying to find a spot to stand in the surf away from the action.

I slipped and fell down on the sand in a small clearing of people where there were several big Monitor lizards and a very large poisonous snake that was an orange and creamy blotched monster. The snake came after me and I was trying to scramble away on my back by pushing my feet and elbows in the sand, but I wasn’t making progress in typical dream style. The snake got near my legs and I gently tried to push it in a new direction with my knee when I remembered I was dreaming. I waved my hand over the snake in a magician-style movement and the sand underneath it sank and the snake disappeared into it with only its head poking out of the hole. It flicked its tongue at me and stayed in the hole. The Monitor lizards took an interest in me but found themselves sitting in holes with leashes on them held by the people nearby as I passed. I was really happy that I’d been able to just stop the monster chasing theme in such a fun way.

I kept on going down the beach and ran into one of my Middle School math teachers, Mr. Alba. It was strange seeing him. I liked him as a teacher, but he didn’t have a huge impact on me. In fact, the only thing I can really recall from his classes was when he was naturalized as a citizen he came to school in a blond wig because he was an American now. He recognized me and I exchanged pleasantries with him and kept going down the beach.

I came to a little shop that was selling books and saw one that I recognized as a Dr. Seuss book, but its spiral bound cover was was laminated and grimy. The title was like 20 words long each in a different color. I tried to read them, and I knew they were funny, but in usual dream fashion I couldn’t make the letters spell out anything. I really wanted to remember what the title was so I could put it in this blog post, that I knew I was going to write, but the harder I tried to focus on the words the more frustrated I got. I think that’s what finally woke me up.

I was much happier with this lucid dream than the last one. Things seemed to work better as I tried less to control what was going on, but just change the things I didn’t like. It would be great to be able to regularly handle issues in my dreams that I don’t like, but I wonder if whatever anxiety causes conflicts needs actual resolution in dream fashion, and not removal by magic. But I don’t feel that the frustration of being chased by monsters, trapped in crowds, or whatever, is really resolved by my dreams. And who really wants to have chronic nightmares? I very seldom have good dreams. My wife wakes up laughing often, at least as often as I wake up almost screaming. I think I’d prefer her experiences.

Lucid Dream

I hadn’t intended to do a sequential series of dreams, but in this turbulent time I’ve been pretty loaded up with them, at least when I can sleep. Last night a cat woke me up about her usual time after four in the morning. I let her out and when I went back to sleep I was having a strange dream where a friend from high school had been sent to look for me by my wife. He rode a bicycle up pulling a trailer with a fish tank full of water on it. I had had it with the world and was leaving town and my friend knew he had to kind of talk me down. We stopped on the corner of the busy street heading back to my house where I saw the smaller aquarium from my desk tipped over in the gutter with a top corner broken off. There were fish everywhere and I started picking them up and brushing the leaves and dirt off them and putting them in my friends trailer aquarium. I started noticing these weren’t my fish, and they were salt water fish, but realized fresh water was better than no water and put them in the tank, too.

We got back to my house and got the fish inside and as I started dealing with the rescued fish I recognized the dream for what it was. I think I’ve written before about the pet store my brother and I owned and how I have reoccurring dreams about going back to find the neglected tanks of fish that were abandoned for decades. In reality we moved all the fish from our store home to my parents house, nothing was lost, yet I dream often about fish suffering in too little water with no food for years.

When I began to suspect that I was in a dream I actually did what I had tried to do for years to recognize that I was dreaming, I looked at my hands. I’d heard that your brain has a hard time realistically representing common things, but you usually don’t try to perceive detail in a dream. My right hand was backwards on my wrist with my palm facing away from me, and my middle, ring, and little finger were one piece with lines where they should be separate, like a toy. As I tried to spread my fingers I had to use my left hand to pull on my little finger. They separated with some effort, but it was like pulling on gum and they stretched and parted from each other then snapped back together.

Since the time in high school when I read about lucid dreaming in Omni magazine I’ve tried to be able to control my dreams. But on the few instances I have actually realized I was dreaming the dream immediately shatters and I wake up. In this dream, after I realized it for what it was, I looked around and nobody was in the house with me anymore, but the dream didn’t end. I’d always wanted to fly in my dreams, but on any flying dream I have I don’t get too much sky, just bump along the road or up a mountainside. I decided I wanted to try flying and began swimming up towards the ceiling. As I got close I could kind of see through the ceiling and I broke through and the roof of my house splashed away from me like water and I climbed up into the sky… for about a minute. Then I found myself bouncing along the street unable to climb higher.

I went back to swimming through the air instead of flying and the dream changed. I don’t remember much of what happened after that, but I do remember that every little while I checked my hands and realized I was dreaming again and I’d try to fly without any real success. I suppose the next time I do it I ought to give up trying to fly and see if I can teleport instead. Or maybe I’ll try to create something and see if I can come up with something cool to do in my waking life, something that goes in a different direction than I habitually make.

Actually, maybe I should just settle for making something at all.

Scifi Dream

You can probably skip this one.

I know dreams are really only interesting to the dreamer, and I want to keep what I can of this one around because it was so involved. It happened in several segments as I awoke, fell asleep, awoke, went to the bathroom, awoken by the cat to let the it out, but the cat wouldn’t go, and so on. I’m not exactly sure of the order and it’s been hours since I got up, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

It was an end-times space-based dream. I was an astronaut and we were following a scout ship that was trailing an artifact, or silent alien ship as it passed through our solar system. Our ship was better supplied and equipped, but the scout ship was a small manned space station, maybe, and had started out first. One of the astronauts on the space station had drifted away from it somehow and everyone was mourning his loss. I knew he had to be on a similar path and nearby, so I went out on the surface of the ship in a pretty nifty space suit and called for a small course correction that wouldn’t cost us too much fuel. As we approached I could see the drifting space suit and anchored my feet on the ship and reached out and was barely able to grab him. My first instinct was to swing him towards the Earth’s Moon as we were nearby and have someone on the moonbase save him, but decided to just send him inside the ship.

I hung out on the outside of the ship for a long time and as we got near Jupiter we caught up and docked with the scout ship. There were clouds all around like maybe we were inside the upper part of Jupiter’s atmosphere. I could see a cluster of several glowing lights of different colors just inside a cloud and identified it as the alien ship. Then turning and looking around I could see several other ‘ships’ at different points in the clouds. There was a lot of discussion over the radio how we could reach them and what we should do.

Then we were back in geosynchronous orbit over Salt Lake City I was still outside the ship and marveling at how the city had changed in the decades that we were gone. The Great Salt Lake had been mostly drained for some sort of economic reason and a Bingham Copper Mine-like pit had been dug around the capitol area, lowering  it and the surrounding buildings and homes, intact thousands of feet. All that was left of the lake had drained into a little ring almost circling the capitol which was at the lowest point. The city and county building, however, was still at the original elevation and accessible by a small peninsula jutting out into the pit.

Then I was down in the arcology dug into the walls of the pit. A series of tunnels and rooms that the survivors were using as living and science quarters. We were covertly gathering esoteric equipment and planning on leaving the Earth behind to it’s doom. We could only save a small number of people and were preparing some sort of exodus. I was winding tubes and cords around the equipment preparing it to ship out. We decided to get to a base on the moon first and decide where to go from there.

We were in an underground moon base. I guess that thinking of it as an exodus had sunk in, because everyone that was leaving was Jewish except me. I’m not talking Hasidic stereotypes or anything, I just knew everyone was Jewish except me. A scientist came running in and started excitedly telling everyone that because of quantum entanglement we could jump in a split second from our cave to an entangled one on Mars and be safe from the apocalypse. There was a big argument about we didn’t know anything about the Martian environment inside the cave, whether there was air or water and whether it was occupied by anyone, human or otherwise. The Rabbi leader made the decision that we would set up here and send a scouting party ahead to evaluate the Martian caves. This wasn’t a popular idea among most of the people who were afraid we would be too late to escape.

Then we were in the Martian caves. Someone had taken upon themselves to trigger the jump and fighting broke out among most of the people. The few that weren’t fighting started heading out and exploring the caves, which seemed to be perfectly capable of supporting life. There was vegetation in places along the walls and somehow the caves were lit with a ruddy light that emanated from nowhere in particular. I moved into one side tunnel and came out in a small room where a few children had found tomato plants growing tomatoes the size of basketballs. One kid was holding one of the giant tomatoes and looking like he was going to dive in and give it a bite. I reminded him that he was allergic to tomatoes and shouldn’t even be holding one. He started to argue that 1) it was a Martian tomato and probably ok, and 2) he’d probably lost his allergy when making the quantum jump. I took the tomato away from him anyway and made him go wash his hands.

Somehow the whole thing was set to the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Show (Hey Oh)”

Another Cinematic Dream

This is the closest thing to a good dream I’ve had in a long while.

The dream goes way back into the night, but the significant part was the perfect closing scene for a movie that I’ve ever had. It had an ensemble cast: a young Walter Matthau, Paul Rudd, my friends Jason Bennion and Jack Hattaway, Susan Sarandon’s character from Bull Durham played by a Laugh-in era Goldie Hawn (but not played ditzy). There was a love triangle between Goldie Hawn and just about everybody (so, not a triangle, really) that was nuanced and weighted perfectly. A confrontation between everyone in a large hotel suite where Paul Rudd goes off on a rant about need and want and the saccharine sweetness of a commercial breakfast cereal, Sugar-oo’s.

Individuals move from room to room having conversations about related fragments of the situation, Jason goes off and smokes a cigarette down the hill by a garden and an old barn. Rudd and Matthau have an argument about the nature of their relationship with Hawn and how each one had what the other wanted. I almost fall down a set of stairs tripping on a vacuum cord. Walter Matthau shoots a flaming arrow at the barn where Jason is smoking and explosively sets the whole thing on fire, and Jason looks around at it nonchalantly.

The cast stands at the top of the rise looking down at the flaming wreckage. Goldie Hawn has left with some man that’s she’s chosen on the spur of the moment to be her next project and pulls off in a convertible Cadillac, leaving all the jilted men contemplating their relationships with her. Walter Matthau walks off towards the kitchen and as we watch his back he ends the movie with the perfect line, “What are Sugar-oo’s?” The camera pulls back and up on a dolly crane shot and we see what’s left of the cast milling about in front of the hotel with flaming wreckage from the barn in the background.

No kidding, I woke up after a crane shot when the scene ended. If you made it this far you’re a Good Person, the kind of person who smiles and nods at your friend when they say, “I had the weirdest dream last night!” Even if you grit your teeth the whole time wondering when it will end. But I did try to ease the pain and didn’t talk about our class being on the first bus to the theater, or the mix up in seat number cards. I did mention almost falling down the stairs, though, because I wanted you to know I was in the dream. I was a minor character, though.

War Dream

I had another one last night, one of those dreams I can’t quite shake. There was some kind of war. I had my .22 pistol on me and a small machine gun that took the same ammo as my familiar sidearm. I was a little dismayed at having such a small calibre weapon. We were taking cover behind cardboard boxes stacked loosely behind some rail fencing about 15 yards apart from the enemy. They had similar ineffective cover, and I seemed to know who they were. I was laying on the ground hiding in vain behind my box and watching a soldier, someone who had been my friend, training a browning .50 calibre machine gun on a tripod on me diagonally to my left. We were at the park just downhill from the University on 1st south, below the tennis courts.

There were soldiers on both sides calling to keep calm and point weapons in a safe direction, but everyone was nervous. Most of us were trying to comply, but a sudden move would bring the weapons back to bear and several times we came within a hairs breadth of opening fire only to return our weapons to pointing at the ground. I was checking my ammo supply when someone opened fire. It was quickly suppressed and I saw that one of the guys across the fence from me had been shot up, but not killed. They were angry and started to train their guns on me, anger in their eyes. I opened fire.

In these dreams I don’t ever seem to be able to deal lethal damage, and this was the same. I put several small slugs into the chests of a couple soldiers in front of me with my machine gun. They opened fire on me, the dirt spraying up and holes chewing through my cardboard box. The soldiers all around me were getting cut down by superior weapons. Most of them fled back and to the right towards an amusement park. I realized I couldn’t stay as the enemy quickly crossed between the two fences, so I jumped up and began to retreat also, but turning left instead of right.

I began to take fire and was struck in the head by a small calibre bullet just above and behind the ear. It hurt so bad. I took several more in the shoulder, right side, and one in the right elbow and wrist. I fell down and played dead. The enemy solders walked past me making for the amusement park and I was afraid for the civilians in their path. I got up and began to inspect my wounds. I could feel the bullet that struck my head just below the skin. There wasn’t much blood from any of the wounds, but I didn’t know if I could get far. I thought I was going to have to walk myself clear down to the hospital, but I was scared for my wife.

I began to walk towards the amusement park and found Debbie playing with a class of small children in the amusement park by a carousel and ferris wheel. She didn’t seem to concerned about my wounds but thought I needed to get to the hospital. She couldn’t leave the children and the soldiers seemed to be nowhere around so I began the long walk to the hospital. Again I started to probe my wounds because I couldn’t understand how I was still alive.

I awoke right after that, about 4:30 in the morning, but I could still feel the pain in my head, wrist, and elbow and the dream stayed with me for several minutes. The little Stella cat had come in earlier than she has lately to sleep against my feet. I disturbed her as I sat up halfway in bed and she came over and laid down on my shoulder as I fell back on the pillows and hoped to not dream anymore.

A dream with a different tone

I’ve swung back to the intense dreaming portion of the cycle where I don’t really seem to get any rest and wake up exhausted, like I’ve been working hard all night at something ridiculous. Thursday night was different, perhaps it was all the New Years Eve junk food, but I remember the dream perfectly. Instead of a repetitious task I can’t quite do correctly or to my satisfaction, I was actually doing something I enjoyed. I don’t often dream about things I enjoy, and I’ve heard it suggested that it’s because you don’t dream for fun, you dream to work something out internally. I never dream of making pottery, or going to the beach, instead I’ve visited hell and been shot up a few times.

This week my dreams have been more narrative than it has of late. Maybe that means I’m past the hump of this seasons depression. The main event was a very vivid dream where I was in a heavily-used wilderness area with a lot of places to rock climb. None of the walls were very big, but there were a lot of them around, with people everywhere tied in and ascending. I found an interesting little  pock-marked face with a lot of potential that was completely free of climbers. Despite not having any gear, and remembering I was out of shape I decided I’d only boulder a bit down low.

I took hold of a couple of the little pockets and pulled myself onto the wall and took a few steps up, intending to just fool around a little, but soon found myself much higher than was safe. I’d come to a slight overhang, but could reach back and up almost to the top. I was excited by the challenges I’d already faced and really wanted to get back to this place when I had my gear with me and someone to properly belay. I extended just enough to reach the top of the overhang and found a really good hold. I knew that if I let go with my other hand and just went for it I could easily get over this last part and stand on top of this cliff. But I wasn’t tied in, and didn’t have the right shoes on, so I downclimbed a bit and found a diagonal crack I could chimney down and made it back to the ground safely. I felt so good and I was excited to do it again, and make it all the way to the top that I knew I had to get in shape and come back next year.

It seems to me what this is saying is that my own self doubt about my preparedness and my unwillingness to let go of what I see as safe or secure is keeping me from accomplishing what I’d really like to do. What’s baffling me enough to sit down and try to write about it is why I was so happy in this dream. It was a profound, genuine joy that I haven’t feet in waking life in a long time. Appropriately, I have had bits of Hamlet’s speech to Rozencrantz and Guildenstern running through my mind quite often this last month:

I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory

Except I know why, and the exasperation of dealing with it for 30 years is taking its toll.

I’m not one to take too much direction from my dreams, but I’m more than a little impacted by this one. I can remember being happy now, and what it was like to actually, genuinely enjoy things. And not only that, but to enjoy the processes of things as opposed to the perception that happiness would be obtained by achieving a goal. In the dream I was filled with happiness at just climbing and I knew I’d be happy completing the climb, but it didn’t matter that I hadn’t finished that day. But if I had just let go with my other hand and made the move around the overhang I could have been on top of the cliff. I knew I could do it, I had a good hold to move from, but I backed down because it wasn’t ‘safe’.

It’s given me a lot to think about over the last day, and I don’t have any sort of solution yet. In fact, I don’t even know the direction I should be looking, but I’m taking a look at everything. Maybe that’s a good point to start the new year.

Have you seen my totem?

So Sunday morning I was dreaming that it was a warm, sunny day and I was trying to arrange my little bonsai tree that’s struggling. I wanted to give it the most light it could get in the shade of a tree on campus. It only has one leafy branch and I had it in a dappled sunny spot and was trying to figure out where to put it so the sun would shine longest on that branch when a BYU football player came up to me in full uniform. He started telling me he needed to direct traffic to the big BYU-Utah football game and his daughter was telling everyone it started at 12:03, but it really started at 12:05. He was pretty worried, and I was annoyed he was bothering me. I told him it didn’t matter, both times were close enough, and I wasn’t really in charge of football parking.
I woke up.
And I bumped in to a friend on 13th East and 2nd South. It was raining and dark but it seemed he was happy to see me and asked if I’d walk with him to his office, because he had something he needed to tell me. I said ok, and as I turned around I ran into another friend who lives out of state, and I hadn’t seen in a long time. He asked if I’d go to lunch with him and I said OK. As I turned again I saw the first friend who looked disappointed in me for forgetting about him so soon. I tried to quickly explain that I’d catch him after lunch, or the next day and that this other friend wasn’t going to be in town long and this was my only chance to see him. I was a little annoyed I had double booked and…
I woke up.
I was in a shabby casino, standing in front of a huge craps table made entirely from chocolate with a molten surface three inches deep. The croupier urged me to play quickly and I found a couple chocolate dice just against the inner wall. I picked them up and threw one, rolling a six. The die began to soften in the molten confection and the dealer urged me to throw the second quickly. I was curious how I could see so clearly in the molten liquid. I threw the die and it came up five and she shouted, “Winner!” She handed me another die and told me to roll it to see what I won. It came up 5 again as the first two dice dissolved into the liquid mass. The dealer counted me out 5 large square chips confirming each as a hundred as she lay them down on the candy rail. A die rolled past nearly round as it dissolved, the six dots on its face constantly towards me. “Buy yourself a new saxophone, kid!” she said. I picked up the chips turning towards the cashier and thought, “Who am I, Lisa Simpson? I don’t play the saxophone…”
And I woke up.
The sun was shining brightly in the room, and outside it sounded like a car pulled away from the curb. My first thought was, “Damn you Leonardo DiCaprio!” And I wondered if I ought to do anything that came into my head all day.

Woke up laughing

So I’m dreaming I lived in my apartment up the street, except it’s much bigger and totally populated with people from WarhammerOnline. Nobody from the guild I was in, but it’s like I was joining this new guild and they were happy because they needed a healer, and I was willing to play one. I’m looking for some solitude and it’s kind of crowded, so I end up awkwardly going outside knocking over a couple boxes on the way and getting some clothes hanging on a nail in the doorjamb almost caught in the door, much to the consternation of two girls moving in. And I sit down on the porch kind of dejected when I see a couple little 4-year-old-ish kids run around the corner in little green tights with black polka-dots on them and little plastic swords. Suddenly they’re joined by several more until the whole lot is peppered with little swordfighting kids. One teen-aged kid comes around the corner in a kind of Robin Hood costume directing these tykes a bit and resolving disputes. All of a sudden a just get really happy and I jump up and run Paul Revere-like through the house yelling, “The Munchkins are LARP-ing*! The Munchkins are LARP-ing!”
I woke up very amused.
*Live Action Role Playing

A Walk Among the Dead

So I find myself dead and I’m wandering around what looks like a bombed-out Latin American city where the natives are employed making fancy luxury cars. There were a bunch of other dead people walking around with me, only they were terribly upset because they couldn’t find jobs or any way to get money. Some were so upset they tried to commit suicide by either jumping off the 4th floor of the wall-less building we were in, or slitting their own throats. After the attempts they would just end up walking back in more distraught than ever. I was kind of relieved to be dead because it meant that I didn’t have any more worries, and I tried to explain to some of the people that they just needed to find something to do to pass the time and enjoy it, but this seemed to make them more angry. I pointed out that the natives were all happy even though they were working making things they couldn’t ever afford either. This only made them angrier, so I decided that maybe if I left I could find some other people that were having a better time being dead than these goofs.
First I tried to jump on a carrier ship for the new cars. It was like a huge cargo ship, but all the cars were resting on little platforms each held up by a small pole in the center of the platform. The only place I could sit was on top of one of the cars, and I was really afraid I was scratching the paint. I sailed on for several miles but suddenly found myself back in the little town, so I decided I’d just try to walk somewhere else. I went down a tunnel I found in the dirt carrying a little ladder and a length of rope, just in case I found obstacles I couldn’t get around.
I walked for a long time and finally came up where there were a bunch of people who were really distraught. One guy was complaining that he wouldn’t go back into the little box, pointing to a small footlocker looking box with slits in the top and I understood that all these people were required to give up their bodies during the nighttime hours and stay in this little box all smashed together. One man was saying that they didn’t have a choice, and that they had to do it to ensure the safety of Pennsylvania. (I blame Doug_Doug for the location) I figured I must have gone the wrong way and moved deeper into hell, rather than closer to getting out.
I told the guy that putting all the souls in there wasn’t going to make anything safer, and besides that, we were already all dead anyway. This made him really angry and he said I needed to go in the box too, because it was the law. I said that I was going to run for governor and change the law, which made him completely bonkers, evidently he was the current governor and by saying out loud I was challenging him put me in the race. I needed to go around and talk people into voting for me because that night was the election night and they needed to get the vote in. I walked around and talked to some of the people, but they were really distressed because they didn’t have any money and couldn’t buy furniture that wasn’t sold in thrift stores. I tried explaining that they didn’t need furniture anyway, and that sometimes thrift stores have really good deals. But the people only wanted brand new shiny things and I got kind of tired of talking to them, so I grabbed my ladder and rope and went looking for the hole to go back the way I came and try to find somewhere better on the other side of the Latin American Country I started in.
Then the cat jumped up on me and woke me up.