Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Secret Meanings Of Dreams (Or Why You Shouldn't Eat Cheese Before Bedtime)

It looks like even the earnest flowery 'Interpret the Meanings of Your Dreams' books and websites are trying to get with the times. Or at least keep their source material relevant enough to maintain the rate of crystal sales.

A few years ago there would never have been any mention of what it means when you dream about zombies - not so much as a passing reference - leaving those of us who had seen Dawn of the Dead without any way to work out what our subconscious was trying to tell us.
Apart from 'have a zombie survival plan' of course.

Now you can find online dream dictionaries and the like that tell you that dreaming of zombies means that 'parts of your greater self are stalking you'*, whilst others suggest that it means that someone might be threatening you in real life 'emotionally, mentally or physically'**. Oh, and if you dream that you are a zombie it means you are 'not in touch with your humanity, compassion, feelings etc'***.
The bit where you are terrified of being ripped to pieces and communally devoured like a large dish of paella isn't addressed in the various entries for 'zombie'. You have to look at entries for 'cannibalism' for any hint of what the consumption of flesh might signify****.

Unfortunately these illuminating guides to the collective human psyche still dwell heavily on the meaning of individual symbols without giving you any clue as to how to combine and interpret them as a whole.
If waterfalls indicate 'goals and desires' and a unicorn means 'high ideals, hope and insight' does a dream about a unicorn by a waterfall mean that you've had an insight about your dreams and hopes or is your idealist unicorn thirsty for direction?
What if you barely notice either of them because you're too busy running from zombies?
The nerd in me wants a point-based scoring system where zombies are clearly trumped by monster trucks which therefore dictate the overall message of any dream that features both*****.

So despite having access to this new information I am still unable to determine which parts of my greater self are stalking me when I dream that I'm hiding in a butcher's shop while zombies rage around looking for meat and whether this reveals a self-destructive streak or a more than healthy dose of stupid.
And I've got even less to go on with the dream that starred a bungee-jumping Indiana Jones-esque sheep!

Maybe I should just stop eating so late at night.
Or start drinking less.
Or more.
Or possibly just accept that my dreams are crazy goobaloo nonsense and that I can't apply blanket or standardised interpretations to every item or event.

But seriously, if anyone could explain the dream with the bungee-jumping sheep that'd be awesome.

*Whatever that means!
**Thanks for the vague warning, I'll get right on that.
***Sociopaths Anonymous: Your membership card is in the mail.
****You are concerned about exploitation and submission/domination apparently. Nothing to do with being eaten alive at all. That'd be too simple.
*****That you should go out and commandeer a monster truck and mow down zombies!

Additional: Sure I could link to various dream dictionary websites but imagining hapless folk searching the interwebs randomly for dream interpreters and analysers is so much more rewarding.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Back In My Day...

The world is changing at such a rate that we've become old fogies decades ahead of schedule.

You start talking about something with someone else anywhere near their mid twenties and at some point or another you might accidentally use that type of phrase. You know the one.
  • You can remember when petrol cost 60 cents a litre (or your local equivalent).
  • You can remember when the milkman used to deliver glass bottles of milk to the door.
  • You can remember when the internet was empty and boring.
  • When you were a kid there were no mobile phones, handsets were still shackled to the wall and when someone couldn't contact you by phone they assumed you were just out instead of dead.
  • When you did assignments at school we had to look in books and encyclopedias, there were very few electronic journals/books and no such thing as Wikipedia*.

You see!?

I can honestly remember saying to a friend something like "Pfft, these DVD things are never going to take off. What is everybody going to do? Get rid of all their VHS?"

*coff coff* Yes, well we all make mistakes. Nostradamus I am not.

I expect to be completely confused by the changing technology years before my 82-year old grandmother was and to have to ask younger relatives to give me a hand with my visual medium recorder** well before my mother had to.

See how advanced we are?
We're moving so fast my knowledge has become obsolete before I've even gotten to my midlife crisis!
And by the time I do I probably won't know how to operate my shiny new car!

*That bastion of reliability and truth
**I'm not going to date myself by naming the recording medium

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Hey, Did I Leave A Blog Post Around Here? It's About This Big...

It's no picnic being absent-minded.

Sure you get a decent amount of exercise as you wander endlessly through the house trying to remember where you were going and why but there are drawbacks as well.

  • Self-Inflicted Social Alienation
  1. Step One. Almost give yourself heart failure when you get back to your car and realise that the laptop you had carefully camouflaged with environmentally friendly shopping bags is gone.
  2. Step Two. Scare the crap out of a small child and his unamused mother as you start to swear like a sailor and perform a frantic little dance whilst trying to work out how anyone managed to steal anything from a locked car.
  3. Step Three. Finally remember that you stopped off home before going to the shops and your laptop is safely there and have to come down off an adrenaline high as those around you try to decide whether you are epileptic, schizophrenic or have Tourette's before they finally settle on 'you're just a weirdo'.

  • Outing Yourself as Pants-On-Head-Retarded*

    "Holy crap..."
    "Holy crap!"
    "What? What is it!?"
    "I can't find my phone! It's not in any of my pockets or my bag! It's just not there! It's gone!"
    "Oooooooooooookay, then what are you talking to me on?"
    "What? I... Oh. Oh right. Heh."

  • You Always Assume You've Forgotten Something
  1. This may sound helpful but means that you end up looking for things on the off chance you might remenmber what they are when you see them.
  2. You will check that you've locked the front door three times before you leave the house because your short term memory always cuts out halfway down the stairs/driveway/street.
  3. You will realise that you were right and you did forget something but this will happen when you're either halfway to your destination or have arrived and it is too late to do anything about it.

Though to be fair there are some definite advantages.


  • Being Forgetful Could Be Mistaken For Existential Philosophy And Net You Some Hot But Pretentious Party Booty

    "Why am I here?
    "What am I looking for?"
    "Where am I meant to be?"

  • It Cuts You Some Slack For Being An Inconsiderate Ass-Hat

    "Oi! Where are you?"
    "Um, at home watching The Mighty Boosh. Where are you?"
    "I'm down at the pub where you're supposed to be."
    "You said you'd meet me at the pub at 7pm on Friday."
    "... Is it Friday?"
    "Oh for the love of- *sigh* Are you coming now?"
    "Yeah, gimme 10 minutes."

  • You Probably Won't Notice When You Actually Start To Lose Your Marbles
  1. Slip further and further into good natured befuddlement.
  2. Get quite excited when the nurses take it in turns to explain that you are actually Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Hugh Heffner or Evil Knievel.
  3. Believe them implicitly when they tell you that you're "going home" and quite enjoy the slide show of green fields and waterfalls and the like until the spiked drink kicks in and you get sent off to the Soylent Corporation.

And of course if you completely forget what you'd been planning to write about this week you can always write about having a mind like a sieve and hope that anyone reading this does as well so they won't notice when you do it again a few months down the track.

*Oh Yahtzee, you visionary poet!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

What Do You Mean They Don't Have To Make Sense?

Despite the fact we are all well aware that the advertising industry is a seething pit of con artists and shysters there are some bits near the edge of the pit, the ‘shallow end’ if you will, where the small time or slightly slow advertisers dwell.

There’s a carwash in my home town which I won’t name* which sends me off into a spiel every time I see it.
The sign above the carwash depicts a small pod of dolphins energetically leaping out of foaming waves.

There are few things that weird me out about this:
  1. The town is two hours inland.
  2. Unless the dolphins want to face-plant on the beach, why are they leaping forwards out of crashing waves?
  3. The hell do dolphins have to do with cars? Does anyone ever see a dolphin and think wax polish? And if they do… ick.
  4. Either the dolphins are leaping about in soapy fresh water (bad for the dolphins) or the carwash appears to be suggesting that you wash your car in salt water (bad for your car) Does anyone else remember that cartoon where Goofy/Donald Duck backing his boat and car into the ocean? I rest my case**

The number of people who are actually willing to let me wax poetical about this topic (few) and those who haven’t heard it at least once before (even fewer) always try to reason with me.

“It’s a sign for a carwash. It isn’t a scientific treatise***” they say, “So Sammy Signwriter isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed! It got your attention didn’t it?”

Yes, I reply, it did get my attention but in a way that makes me worry about their facilities and/or what they do to dolphins in their spare time. I’m certainly never going to patronise their carwash.

“I’m sure they’d be devastated to learn they’ve lost one crazy person’s business… You don’t even have a car!”

That’s not the point. It’s a matter of principal.

“Sure not taking the car you don’t have to a particular carwash is a matter of principal. Say does someone already have your power of attorney?”

I’m already leaving you my CDs imaginary composite of everyone I know, don’t get greedy.

Fair enough, Sammy Signwriter probably isn’t running with the big boys of the advertising world and possibly there are those less OCD than I who, once their attention is caught, forget about the dolphins and focus on sluicing down their cars who love that sign. I guess what I’m more worried about is what advertising is doing to the way we think

Someone I met recently works for an insurance company (but I forgive them) which ran a light-hearted ad about a family building a new house and the little daughter being downcast to find a brick wall behind the door where her new bedroom should be.

They had been expecting a few calls from the usual overexcited people accusing them of child abuse for putting such a broken-hearted look on the little girl’s face but what they hadn’t been expecting was the flood of other complaints.

People calling up to say that the little girl was too ugly to be on TV and asking what the insurance company intended to do about this.

So after years of bemoaning the overly pretty and slim folk with uncomplicated lives or speed-freak levels of energy pedalling our consumer faff to us we’ve come to this.

Go home little girl.

You’re too ugly to be on TV.

Worries me, it really does.

But if you’ll excuse me I’m off to pay some of the local ne’er-do-wells to spray paint ‘SAVE THE DOLPHINS’ on a certain carwash. They’ve already got the spray paint and if they get caught at least they’ll be able to plead ecological conscience and the passion of youth as a defence.

And I’ll be able to deny everything as long as everyone I’ve ever met can keep their mouths shut.

*I can’t remember what it’s called.

**Stay tuned for my post on how we should be using that invisible paint on our heavy artillery equipment in Afghanistan and Iraq.

***They didn't actually say treatise but I wanted to make them look good for the internets.