A Weird Dream and My Wednesday Night

My mother always tells me that my tendency toward very bizarre dreams is just like her mother’s dreams. I always considered myself to be very close to my maternal grandmother since we had similar rebellious personalities and an allergy to metal touching our skin. (Her allergy was more severe than mine. She couldn’t wear ANY. I can wear gold, platinum, and surgical steel, but NOTHING else. I can’t even let a belt buckle touch my stomach or I’ll break out!) So last night I had a weird dream. Based on the way my subconscious reacted, it was NOT a nightmare, which was interesting because it had elements that I normally associate with nightmares. Generally speaking, when I have nightmares, they are extraordinarily violent, bloody, and gory. And before you start thinking that it’s from all the games I play or whatever, I don’t play horror games or watch horror movies. Like EVER. They scare me too much. I don’t turn blood off if there IS blood in the game, but if you think about the games I generally play, they’re not exactly bloody.

THE DREAM

There are two people walking along the edge of a dark forest. Everything is covered in snow. One of the people is bleeding and leaving a bright red trail of blood as he continues on. After contemplating for a long time, watching the two people walk along, I determined that I had to figure out how long before the bleeding guy dies of blood loss.

Unlike most of my bizarre dreams, I was able to figure out where this one came from. Here’s a list of things I did yesterday when I got home from work:

1. I watched my son play Outlast on Twitch for a little while. He likes to livestream horror games for his friends to watch. Here’s his channel, if you’re interested. (He’s in the Eastern time zone.) He doesn’t actually stream very often since he’s got almost max credits at college right now PLUS a campus job, though. That game has blood everywhere. And stuff that jumps out at you. I could only watch for a few minutes before I chickened out and closed the window. I really am such a wuss. If I could handle horror games, this one looks pretty scary. Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet:

So that’s where the trail of blood came from.

2. I watched several lectures from the coursera courses I’m enrolled in right now:

  • A Brief History of Humankind – A lecture about the theories surrounding the religions and belief systems of hunter-gatherer homo sapiens prior to the agricultural revolution.
  • History of Rock, Part I – Lectures about American popular music before 1955, including Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, big bands, and Frank Sinatra, as well as Country & Western music before 1955. Did you know that Country music and Western music were originally separate entities? I didn’t. I then spent about 20 minutes or so, looking up some of this music on youTube. I forgot how much I loved big band music.
  • From the Big Bang to Dark Energy – Lectures about how scientists have figured out how old the universe is. The focus was on distance and the corresponding time that it takes from light to travel from place to place. There was also a lot of talk about how the universe is expanding. After the lectures, I worked on some of the homework problems and there was question after question about distance and more importantly, time. So here’s where the “how long before…” question came from.
  • Introduction to Mathematical Thinking – Lectures on what mathematical thinking is and why it’s important. The math that we’re taught in high school is all about memorizing formulas that we can use to solve problems. However, during the last two to three hundred years mathematics has changed into a subject that is far more abstract and focused on the relationships between things. Then lectures on the ambiguity of the English language and how we need to learn to identify ambiguous questions or questions that don’t state the truth. Here’s a great example: “This page intentionally left blank.” Because we understand the context, we accept the fact that the page isn’t ACTUALLY blank, but in reality this sentence is lying to us. Using language to explain mathematics is bad. Math needs to be precise, so the language describing it also needs to be precise. So when you read, “One American dies of melanoma every hour,” the literal meaning of this sentence is that a single person dies of melanoma over and over every hour. This was the example used in the lecture. How did they come back to life? Obviously, they didn’t. But when you read the original sentence, you knew exactly what it meant because you understood the context. However, you can’t expect everyone to understand the context of a math problem. So here’s where the thinking about what I was seeing came from.

(Just a side note, it’s probably not a good idea to watch the Stanford University class lecture last when it’s late at night. You should probably START with the more challenging stuff. My brain was mush after that.)

3. I read the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings for the upcoming class, Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually read the books. I read The Hobbit when I was around ten years old and while I enjoyed the story, I had a difficult time with the writing. I’m thinking that it was because I was young. But the net effect was that I was turned off by Tolkien since then and never read anything else. I watched the movies because I felt that I had a moral obligation to do so based on my love of games such as EverQuest, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Icewind Dale. (Everyone knows that without Tolkien, we would never have these rich and amazing fantasy worlds for so many video games.)

4. I wandered around the island in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, catching bugs that were hanging out on trees.

Then I went to sleep. Honestly, I’m surprised that my dream didn’t take place in the middle of a black hole or something.

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