Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Dreams!

Part II of demonstrating that miraculous gift, that of dream interpretation! I know you're all excited, and proud of me for starting a thread and actually following up on it later, so here goes:

Faceless Entities

Oftentimes, the Dreamer will experience a situation in which many of the people they are interacting with do not have any details on their faces. Reports of this occurrence range from faces with indistinct or metamorphic features to instances where the face is entirely featureless. One hypothesis is that if one such faceless entity plays a large role in a dream, you are actually interacting with your guardian angel. Another hypothesis postulates a dreamer may simply not be able to remember the faces of the dream, as with many of the details which are forgotten upon waking. A recent study has shown the frequency of this type of dream may be increased if the test subject has been exposed, directly prior to sleep, to a dozen or so episodes of COPS.

The key thing to remember is that anybody without a face should not be trusted. For whatever reason they are attempting to conceal their identity, the probability of their good nature is outweighed by the possibility of malicious intent. Even if one such character approaches you claiming to be a representative of a research team in charge of finding out how many people are willing to trust someone without a face and they are offering you money to participate in the study, be on your guard. This person is a stranger to you, and as such should not be allowed any access to your personal information until you get to know them better i.e. until they show you their face. If, however, they are smokin’ hot, all bets are off.

Grand Canyon

These are not good dreams. I don’t care if you had a blast dreaming of whitewater rafting or of an illicit rendezvous with John Denver, if the Grand Canyon appears to you in a dream it can only mean that you are about to lose a loved one. My advice: If you don’t know what the Grand Canyon looks like, that’s going to make it harder to dream about. It is speculated that through the power of hypnotic suggestion one might be able to avoid the subject of the Grand Canyon altogether by forgetting that there even is such a thing. Studies, however, have been inconclusive on account of the test subjects all being called away at the crucial time to deal with the death of a friend, or a pet if they don’t have any friends. Studies were halted after just ten of these occurrences, the lab ultimately issuing a two sentence report: Do not fool with the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon does not like to fool around.

See? Interpreting dreams is easy! You just pick an image, experience, or metaphor, and then make stuff up about it! It's exactly like writing a research paper!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books Books Books

Now that my work load has subsided somewhat, I thought I'd share with you what I have been doing down there at Ride the Ducks. Because the tourist season is severely over these days, I've mostly been reading. Here's my recent reading list:

White Teeth
, by Zadie Smith

White Teeth is a story spanning generations of turmoil for two families. The families in question are those of Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, two former soldiers, living out their twilight years in London from the seventies to the turn of the century. The stories in this book seem rambling, but if the tightness of Zadie's prose is any indication, there is a deeper subtext to the events depicted that suggests... What? I don't know. You'll have to read it find out I suppose. This is a novel about characters, and at the end of the book the greatest disappointment is only that you have can no longer live with these characters, the book is due back and you must hand them back over to the library. Not that I'm clamoring for a sequel, I only wish I could live my own life with the same delight in the strange world unfolding around me that this book inspires.

Inherent Vice, by Thomas Pynchon

Here's the premise: Doc is a private detective. He is also a reefer-loving hippie. Between his constant smoking of the herb and other reality altering substances he comes in contact with, it is very difficult to discern between evil plots and dope inspired paranoia. Other characters, from bikers to cops to undercover tenor sax players recovering from heroin addiction, are similarly unreliable, leading to a real mess of reality and super-reality that both enthralls and disorients the reader. It is hard to believe that this book, set in the late sixties, was published only months ago, but there are always little reminders, like characters predicting the future with alarming accuracy. Is Pynchon stuck in time, or unstuck? I don't know. Once again, read it if you want to find out.

Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk

This book is CRAZY. I guess you could call it science fiction, since it involves ports in the back of your neck and time travel, but these are all secondary details in a story that doesn't even try to make sense. The reality presented in this book is not fixed, but in flux, as the Doctor would say. Events are subject to change. Repeatedly. Am I giving up too much of the plot? Hell no. There's just to much going on to give away. Rather than discuss the plot, I guess I should just mention the brilliant style this book presents, that of an oral history. Every chapter is organized according to general subject, and anecdotes plus commentary are provided by a huge cast of characters who are each privy to a small portion of the bigger picture. Is there any better way to implement the old "unreliable narrator" device than by involving dozens of narrators, all presenting a different aspect of one story? I don't know. You know what you have to do to find out, though.

That's enough for now. I am currently halfway through "Everything is Illuminated", another fantastic, chimerical, and extremely funny/emotionally fraught tale. I am loving it. Fans of butchered English and characters that express truth through lies should check it out. Especially people who are familiar with, and interested in, the Ukraine. Ahem.