Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm in Love with a Vampire

I'm so paranoid these days that I'm afraid even to use titles like this, lest they become literally true, but at the same time I like having catchy titles (or at least as close to catchy as I can get) so I'll keep it.

Dear reader, be advised, there will be no magical thinking (or any thinking at all, really) in this post! This post is purely about the brain damage end of the business. Not even the gods can be serious all the time; why should we mortals, whose lives are fleeting?

I am feeling unusually happy right now. My dear husband has treated me to a surprise, and I have just had the very pleasurable experience, which I think is really remarkable considering my long history of alcohol consumption, of tasting the most perfect beer of my life: the beautiful, ruby-hued Nosferatu from the local wizards on the mistake on the lake, at the Great Lakes Brewery.

I've tried some of the Great Lakes beers before. They're all delicious (though of course expensive compared to the Natural Lights and Red Dogs of the world, but you pay for quality) and I like the clever names with a local connection. They have a bunch of them:

  • Elliot Ness Amber Lager (my favorite, until I tried Nosferatu). This one is named after the famous Untouchable G-Man who became Cleveland's Safety Director in 1935, only to leave under a shadow for never managing to catch the Cleveland torso murderer;

  • Holy Moses White Ale named for Connecticut surveyor Moses Cleaveland (spelling correct), who, in 1796, came to the mouth of the Cuyahoga, thought it would make a great place for a city, and then (like many another person who has come to the same spot) left and never came back;

  • Burning River Pale Ale to remember the infamous episode of June 23, 1969, in which the Cuyahoga river proved to be so grotesquely polluted that it actually caught fire (but who needs clean water, if business turns a profit and politicians get a cut?);

  • Moondog Extra Special Bitter which celebrates "the 1952 Moondog Coronation Ball held at the Cleveland Arena, what many consider the first 'rock and roll' concert" (explanation stolen from Wikipedia);

  • Edmund Fitzgerald Porter to remember the Cleveland ore carrier, immortalized in the song by Canadian folkster Gordon Lightfoot, that on November 10 1975 sank with all hands on Lake Superior;

  • Commodore Perry India Pale Ale in memory of the hero of the War of 1812, who in a battle on Lake Erie became the only naval commander in history to capture an entire British fleet.

Great Lakes beers tend to have a higher alcohol content than the usual proletarian swill that dominates the American boozing scene, so they pack a nice good buzz. And Nosferatu is king of the court, tipping the scales with an alcohol content of 8%!

The problem for me, apart from the cost, is that I find them very heavy and yeasty; it's like drinking liquid bread. Not that I mind it -- in fact I like it a lot -- but they knock me right out. I drink a couple of Great Lakes beers and I go to sleep and gain five pounds.

But back to the positives, Great Lakes beers are the only alcoholic drinks I can enjoy these days that still give me a buzz and make me feel happy. Everything else just makes me sick and crabby.

But that's enough of this. I am going to go suck on another vampire. Nighty night!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Alien Dreams, Part I

First an explanatory note: whenever I speak of aliens on this blog, I am using the word merely as shorthand for the various kinds of entities reported by experiencers of paranormal contact or abduction phenomena; I don't pretend to have any insight or understanding of their true origin.

I know nothing is more irritatingly tedious than listening to some fool spew on about their dreams, and I promise I won't make a habit of it here. I only set these two down because I don't recall ever having dreamt of aliens before being repeatedly exposed over the past several months to accounts of contacts and abductions, and because while I don't usually believe that dreams are anything more than internal processes of our brains, sometimes I do -- at least some dreams, and these two, particularly the second, feel to me to fall into that category.

I do understand that the most probable reason for these dreams is simply that I've been listening and thinking and freaking myself out about the subject, and so my subconscious is playing around with it and my deteriorating brain is going haywire on me and that's all there is to it; but at the same time a part of me buys into the statement often expressed by explorers of the paranormal that the more you think and search and open yourself up to these things, the more they will seek out you. Again, I understand that probably the reason they're "seeking" you is just because you've predisposed your brain to interpret everything it perceives in a certain way, regardless of what's objectively there. But then again, I can't share the absolute certainty of psychologists and materialist-rationalists that the things we perceive in altered states of consciousness are mere imaginations of the mind; such reasoning strikes me as fundamentally flawed because it is based on an erroneous assumption: alien entities absolutely do not exist, nuh-uh no way; therefore anyone who sees them has to be hallucinating, misinterpreting, or lying.

Of course, most psychologists and materialist-rationalists, being educated, rational, and brilliant people who wish to appear educated, rational and brilliant, will happily admit that alien entities probably exist all over the cosmos; they just don't happen to exist in the one spot of the cosmos where their presence would be inconvenient for the beliefs of educated, rational and brilliant people.

Oh, if only I could bottle my self-loathing vitriol and drink it in its fermented state, what a happy woman I would be.

Anyway, to my mind it seems just as reasonable to assume (since that's all any of us are doing, whatever lies some people may tell themselves) that these entities really do exist, but that for some reason (and many intriguing speculations have been put forth) we are unable to perceive them in our conscious, waking state.

But I've wandered long enough for now. Onto the first dream, which strikes me as by far the less interesting of the two I've had.

As it begins I am surrounded in darkness, nestled snugly but perhaps a little anxiously in the darkness, and I know I am watching or about to watch a film, though not on a screen, or at least I can't detect the screen; it's as if I'm looking through a glassless window onto the real world. I have a very dim sense of seeing one or two lines of opening credits, though if I did I have absolutely no recollection of what they may have represented: peoples' names or the title of the film or whatever.

It opens on a farm in a rural area at night: ten o'clock, I seem to know, though it feels later. I am looking down upon the scene; low mountains in the distance, perhaps a lake or river, certainly there are many trees; and a starless sky with a pale-bright full moon, to which my eye is drawn. There is a dirt road, a fence I think, a large wooden building like a stable and perhaps a cluster of outbuildings. A house? I can't recall. I seem to remember smoke rising from a chimney, but can't say for sure. The impression is of utter isolation in a sparsely-populated region miles from nowhere; it is so difficult for me to remember, but it strikes me that my feeling was an odd mixture of cozy enchantment (because I'd love to live in a place like this) mingled with an undercurrent of anxiety (because I'd hate to be alone in such a place at night) that seems to be present throughout this dream.

I watch this scene for a few moments. Overall I think I enjoy it, I get a good feeling from it. I like the little quiet place out in the country. And now I am shown that the night wears on by a weird sequence of the moon. You've probably seen the kind of time-lapse shot or whatever it is where you are looking at the night sky, and the position of the moon gradually fades from one spot to reappear in another. In this case something odd happens; the old position of the moon doesn't seem to fade out so much as the moon seems to split itself like an amoeba, or perhaps turns to a box and then fades out and reappears as a peanut shape or as an orb that extrudes something from itself until it assumes a peanut shape. I seem to recall seeing a sharp black line briefly appear through the place where the two moons joined. I can't sort out in my mind now just exactly what happened with it. But in the end the moon became a pale-bright orb again, just a little lower in the sky directly beneath where it was before.

My view drifts down to a close-up of the stable. I have the sense that something needs to be done: a few simple last-minute chores, perhaps, prior to shutting the place down for the night or the season, and there's a sense of peace and completion such as I feel when being the last one out of the office at night mingled with that same underfeeling of unease, as if I want to get out of there quickly because I'm suddenly nervous being there in the dark by myself, or am afraid that someone or something might show up soon, or will show up soon. I seem to have become part of the film now, to be the person who is involved in the plot, but as I think of these things to be done somebody else comes on scene and I split back to being a watcher again; whether she's the star or a minor character I can't tell, but it's Sigourney Weaver, apparently, in a white blouse and cream-colored jeans or riding pants. She is the one who is taking care of these last-minute things, though I don't remember seeing her actually do anything. Maybe she finished up just before coming on, or maybe it gets done behind the scenes as she's there.

She gets in the car. Do I feel that we (she, me?) are now safe, or that we waited too long and are now on the brink of disaster? It's all mixed up in my head. But as she drives along, and I seem to be floating outside the car moving along with it, looking at her in profile as the night countryside speeds by in a blur, I either see or have the sense that now Richard Gere is looking at this scene as film footage frame by frame, holding a small screen in his hands and peering intently at it, and whether I'm him or there next to him or watching him as an actor in a film on my own screen I can't say. As with most of my dreams, the details afterward are horribly confused. But I know, because it seems to be the whole point of the film, that Sigourney is going to encounter an alien; I am watching for it, waiting for it, and sure enough, as I watch the blurry black background outside the car window move past frame by frame, a grayish-white blur pops into view.

There it is! I think, and I may feel exultant at having seen it or calmly assured by what I had known was going to happen, but I'm certainly not scared or concerned in any way. The film slows even more now and I watch as the blur clicks horizontally closer toward Sigourney -- although the car was moving from left to right, and the alien blur, as I recall, did not appear at the right side of the screen and work its way to the left as you would normally expect if she were driving toward something on the roadside; as I recall the blur appeared suddenly in the middle of the screen and seemed to move toward the right faster than the car did, or maybe kept pace with the car. Still no fear. And the film slows down even more, because we want to get a really good look at this alien, and apparently in the mechanics of this dream the more you slow down the film the clearer and sharper the objects it captures will be. I am excited, athrob with anticipation; I want to see the alien!

So the film slows to a stop, and there it is, clear as a bell, staring right into the car, its elongated head and huge black eyes and tiny mouth slackly open like a confused old man's, the neck so thin and short that it's barely not even there, thin as thread, and I think I see a long flexy arm, maybe its right arm stretched impossibly behind its back to reach around on its left side toward the car window, and though I was expecting to see its face and, as I thought, prepared for it, the sudden clarity of it huge and looming at the window scared the bejesus out of me and I burst awake with a scream or some kind of violent convulsion that woke my husband, who is a dead-snoring log sleeper.

Unlike some scary dreams, the fear of this one immediately dissipated as soon as I realized I was awake and had been dreaming. It wasn't until I started meditating over it there in the dark night and conjuring up visions of them trying to get at me through wormholes in the realm of sleep that I began to work myself into a state.

I certainly don't expect anyone to see any usable significance in what is surely just another dream. But for whatever pittance it may be worth, you are welcome to it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why I Keep My Thinking to a Minimum

In my case it's like trying to drive a nail with my breasts. It hurts and the results are unsatisfactory. And now it can even make me fat:

"Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact that we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries," said lead researcher Jean-Philippe Chaput at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.

Now I don't pretend that I really understand any of that; I tried, but my jeans started to feel tight and it seemed wiser to abandon the attempt.

I can now appreciate, though, why legitimate science refuses to so much as consider silly sky fairy subjects like UFOs: what intelligent, rational, level-headed scientist would waste time on a nonsensical phenomenon for which there is nothing more than trace evidence, radar responses, and thousands of eyewitness reports (or, to use the proper scientific terminology: mass hypnosis, delusions and lies, and in any event eyewitness testimony is completely invalid anyway) when fascinating answers to the real mysteries of the ages are to be obtained by watching college kids work on computers and scarf tater chips?

As many a parabnormally-minded person has long known: if only we could make UFOs, ghosts, or cryptozoology as lucrative a pursuit as the weight loss industry, the Jean-Philippe Chaputs of the world would grab their laptops and microscopes and hurl themselves shrieking onto that fabulous El Dorado gravy train in the manner of, as the elegant phrase has it, stink on a monkey.

Not that I have anything against Dr. Chaput or his work; I am sure he's a fine human being and a scrupulous researcher, and of course all scientific discovery is worthwhile. I just like to bitch.

And now I drink a draft of the magical brew from my cup and uncloak my mind for the ravishment of the oracular god. HEAR AS YOUR PRIESTESS REVEALS THE ULTIMATE MYSTERIES WHICH WILL BE PROVEN BY SCIENCE AT THE END OF TIME:

1) everything makes you fat; and

2) everything also causes cancer or otherwise kills you.

The full horrifying article is available here.