Waking Dreams and Dreaming Machines


The other day, I was baking cookies and I was very tired and a little headachey from kicking off a cold. It was a bit late to start a nap, but I decided to just lie down for a couple of hours. I didn’t really fall asleep. I just lay down and closed my eyes and didn’t try to think of anything. You know, relaxing. My brain, however, went absolutely nuts in a sort of unguided, free-form adventure for a bunch of characters in my head to go on. It wasn’t exactly hypnogogic, but it rambled on a mile a minute and I can’t remember a thing about it.

I did drift off for a little while. About an hour later, I was certain I was awake. My eyes were open, I was looking up at the ceiling of my room. The light was shining in from the window. And I saw this strange bug… at first I thought it was a daddy longlegs spider, but it also looked a bit like a scorpion. It was thin, translucent, and reddish. It was pretty scary, so I sat up to get a closer look at it (and prepared to get up and the the flyswatter!). And it vanished.

Now, if I was dreaming, I was doing it while I was awake, with my eyes open, and sitting up. It was very freaky.


That night, I had a dream flash of something attacking me — this is not unusual. (And I have to check on my cat the mornings after…!) Usually I attack it back and fall back asleep. But this time I woke up, saw this spiked mechanical hose thing by my bed, leapt OUT of bed, and started running through my apartment in a total panic. It’s not like I dreamed it, then woke up and ran around. It was as if I woke up first, then saw it. It took me ten minutes or so to remember that reality doesn’t actually have robotic hose spikes that stab you in the throat.


Last night, though, I slept very soundly. In fact, I had to wake up and wonder whose cat I was cuddling, because I didn’t wake up to let Mousie under the covers and into the crook of my arm. Which is odd, because she’s usually very good at making noise somewhere far, far away to make sure I am definitely awake before she tries to jump into bed with me. (See previous paragraphs about me attacking things in my sleep. :X She ain’t no dummy!)

I did have this crazy dream… it was in the distant future, and computers were used for space combat. Which only makes sense. Despite what you see on Star Trek, you just can’t aim at something and lob energy bolts at it while it’s moving at or near lightspeed. Or know that they shot at you before the energy beams hit you. Anyway, so the computer interfaced with the human brain in a virtual reality combat simulation. So yeah, the humans were pretty good against the aliens in this thing. We just drew them into a big Doom Deathmatch, and they didn’t stand a chance.

Then my brain did a documentary about how the virtual reality combat mechanism worked against terrorists. Hey, it could… all you have to do is get the terrorists to agree to plug into the system. ??? Anyway… so you do that, and the terrorist guy is all happy. An artificial intelligence comes up and gives him a gun and ammunition. And he starts wandering around and can find explosives and bombs and stuff. Happy as a clam, trapped in the machine.

So our guineapig terrorist goes into a ghetto bar/convenience store where a buncha guys have bigger guns than he does. They are not impressed by him. Then the documentary is explaining how the artificial intelligence of the system can “make up crap” on the fly. For example, there’s a magazine rack in the bar/store/whatever. Instead of having to pre-load content for all those magazines, it can free-associate random stuff, just like a dream. Our very lost ‘tourist’ can grab any magazine off the rack and flip through it to find… Hindu tracts, celebrity gossip, or can just be floored by the Playboy magainzes.


Okay, well it seemed interesting at the time.



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