Sunday, August 14, 2005

nothing's new under the sun

Six weeks gone by, and nothing to bitch about! I must have a placid life, or it's the silly season, as Le Carre would say.

The Davis Austringers and Falconers had a picnic Saturday. I invited some people I'd met from the PGE falcon watchers group, casually dubbed the G&G Appreciation Society. Laurie and Gavin came, as did Arti, and they were excited to see peregrines inches-close rather than seeing them at the end of a spotting scope.

Gavin does taxidermy for a museum in the East Bay. I've done some rather casual taxidermy, skinning and stuffing a rooster pheasant, a quail, and a duck in a crude manner. The first one involved stuffing from an old pillow which turned out to contain dust mites. They emerged, confused, from the empty eye sockets and nares of the quail. ("What in heck are these little white ewww they're moving.") Needless to say, the others were done more properly using (fresh) excelsior and string around a wire armature. I'd love to learn some technique from him.

This was the first time I was meeting Arti face to face. We'd emailed back and forth online quite a lot, and found we had tons in common, read the same books, are interested in Jewish culture, etc. She's a project manager specializing in networks and databases for large financial clients. It was neat to talk to her, but a little scary since she's in that field *now*, whereas I've been out of it for eight years, and had to really search my memory and put my brain in gear to sound one-quarter informed. Plus I was really tired from the drive and a little spacey. I would start talking and forget what the question was. Kind of embarrassing, but what the hell.

Lesseee, what else? Oh, yes, meta dreams. Since 1993 I've recorded about 250 dreams on the computer (I won't ever upload them or publicise them; it's uninteresting to readers, and doesn't tell them anything about you.) For a while I got to the point where I could remember quite a lot, and could blather on for 3000 words with the more lengthy ones. I had theories about them, and divined the meaning of a number of recurring symbols or actions. Then I slacked off and learned it takes practice to remember dreams, constant and unrelenting practice.

Earlier this year I re-read "Journey to Ixtlan." I'm not any level of Castaneda fan, and have no interest in holy visions or connecting to the earth, but I found one intriguing idea. This is telling yourself to look at your hands. The purpose of this is to get yourself into a lucid state, so you can control what happens. I've had some great lucid dreams, just a few, most of which involve flying on the flimsiest of excuses, and want to try invoking some.

Lying in the dark before going to sleep, I've visualized my hands, tried to remember what they look like. It's surprisingly hard for something that we must see hundreds of times in a day. Familiarity breeds disregard, I guess; a screwdriver is just a screwdriver, and who remembers that it has some primer smears and some big dents from the last time you used it as a hammer? It's taken five days (nights) for me to start noticing when my hands appear in a dream. So far, I've managed to tell my hands to do something, but I was too late and my order just disappeared into blackness. Or perhaps the blackness was already there, I was already coming out of sleep. Practice, practice.

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