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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dreams PART 1 - Parkinson's sleep, Parkinson's dreams, the surreal nature of dreams, and the paranormal possibility of dreams

            I’ll be the first person to admit that I have weird dreams. As a person who dreams vividly, it feels like some of the split second images that I have are actually long movies that play out in my head. For instance, a few weeks ago, I dreamed that the singer Ke$ha had a new song out called “Gorilla.” I’m not sure where this came from, but I do have an affinity for some of her music to include the song “C’mon,” which is really good for radio pop music. Agreeably, radio pop is held to a different standard than things we consciously choose to buy or play when we’re making mixes to control the playlist on our own, but I will admit to putting Ke$ha’s “C’mon” on my happy mix (though it lacks magical trips in a van with Furries)
            For that matter, I can sing along to it. Frankly, it’s pretty good, and since I write it here to all of you, for all of the world to read, that’s a big matzo ball to hang out there!
            For those people that don’t know, Ke$ha (who was relatively popular on the radio for a few years until a few years ago) can’t work due to a protracted legal situation where she accused her producer of rape and verbal assault, so it was actually pleasant to know that, even if only in my dreams, she was playing something new (and it was pretty good).
Nevertheless, the new song wasn’t the full dream. Like many of my dreams, various things happen in my nocturnal visions, and they come from various sources over various points in my life. For instance, in this dream, a woman I knew from Air Force days was there, and so were some of my wife’s nieces and nephews. Even Butters from South Park was there. Much of the dream was a virtual reality dream, where all of us who were in the house wore glasses similar to Samsung’s Gear to go into a video game world inside of a huge mansion of sorts.

            Such is the nature of my surreal dreams, and yes, they are all surreal.
            That said, in my dreams, I can actively think, and I have made myself fly once as well, taking flight out of a slot canyon on the Colorado Plateau. For reasons like this, I personally enjoy my dreams since they allow me to go into a creative / daydream world that is far more surreal than my actual daydreams.
            Here, I’ve always been creative, be it with off-the-grid adventures for my Star Wars figures or writing, but to be able to enter into a “whatever happens kind of place” in my sleep is something like going to the movies. I don’t remember all my dreams, but I do remember a good bit of them. I used to have a dream journal, which is something I should do again, and it was definitely interesting to see what kinds of things I would think about. Like those Star Wars days, they represent a great escape into a Joseph Campbell Monomyth or a trippy surreal vision (like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

            I like dreams for these qualities. 
            They're better than Parkinson's sleep. I twist and turn a lot. I even scratch myself. Parkinson's sleep is a challenge. I can sleep 10-11 hours and not feel rested. It takes longer to get up. Hell, I strip my pillows of their cases in my sleep. Ugh. The things non-PD people don't know.
            Thus, for what my sleep isn't, I do like what it is: an opportunity to dream in cinematic glory. Nevertheless, I don’t think of these “movies” I envision at night as science fiction, though there is an element of science fiction to them. I feel the same about Star Wars. The elements of that world and its spirituality always felt so much different than Star Trek. Now, I’m not one of those snobs that think you can only like 1 or the other, but I’ve never felt close to Star Trek. Then again, I didn’t watch the new ones and haven’t tried to watch the old ones in ages. Maybe it was the 1960s camp feel / lack of technology to make technology happen, but I just never connected to them. No matter what it is, however, I can’t see them creating the powerful characterizations and journeys of something like Rogue One or the tragedy of Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith. Then again, that’s just me.

To me, everything comes back to a journey into or away from something. I remember my college English professor (Ron Borkert) who said that, and I still feel it holds true. Whether it’s Jim Carrey trying to hide Kate Winslet safely away from the memory erasers in the aforementioned Eternal Sunshine or Tim Robbins’ journey in Jacob’s Ladder, there is a place, somewhat like the Internet, in our minds, where we can trace our former steps to find meaning in our present and future.

I also think that alternate reality of a different world inside the world is what made The Matrix so good. The same holds true in Altered States drug-fueled journeys back through our DNA to find the earliest evolutionary ancestor of William Hurt (I’m sure that even that embryo was completely fueled by its pretentiousness and sex drive as well).

But my dreams are generally something else, though they’ve been changing recently. In my past, I used to dream of my home in Sinking Spring (from age 5 to 16) as home. I would dream of that world as it was, even 2-3 decades later. I don’t often dream of it now since I’m definitely at home with Heather in the house we live in now (though I never dreamed about our apartment, even though it’s less than 2 blocks away from where I sit typing now). However, this house and town seem to represent a Ghostland Kingdom to me.

When it comes to former homes, I would occasionally dream of West Lawn, which is where I lived after Sinking Spring, but I would never dream of West Reading, which is where we lived before Sinking Spring. I guess I was just too young. In a different vein, I don’t remember many dreams of England. I do occasionally have dreams of Mount Penn, which is where I lived before I came to Ephrata (where I live now). However, these dreams are all about forgetting things. I would go back to the apartment from time to time, when I wasn’t with Heather on certain days before we cohabited, in order to get things to take to our apartment. In this, it was much like forgetting to deliver newspapers, which I would also dream about decades after I gave up my paper route (but not lately). Those dreams, just like those visits in real life, always seemed to be about going back to get things or do things that I forgot (I remembered most of the houses that got papers, but not all). What’s weird is that I never drive by that apartment or want for those days. Here, it’s all just a surreal journey that centers on the obsessiveness of collecting and forgetting. Nevertheless, these images weren’t nightmares, but their obsessiveness mirrored things I might have been forgetting, which I needed to do.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a nightmare, per se, but I have had some “negative connotation” dreams lately. Recently, I had a dream where I found myself caught up in Parkinson’s pauses, where I couldn't connect the entirety of thought A to its logical conclusion at C. Instead, I stopped at B for a split second. This was long enough to realize that I had paused and was entering a more difficult, intense, and scary place on the Parkinson’s journey than I had previously been aware of. That split second is enough time to either be sussed out for my PD (though I'm open about it, I could be labelled too ineffective to continue on with life's work) or to have something really horrible happen.
Even though this was a dream, it scared the poop out of me to think about the WHAT IF that happens in the split second of continuous motion. Now I'm not a major league shortstop, who can get and flip a ball that is hit to me. I'm not counted on to get the out at first in a split second of time so as to impress Harold Reynolds and the audience, but what happens if I can't finish my thought or action? Not-good-ed-ness.

While I like active pursuits, I have never been in shape. I’ve come to accept that no matter how much I hike, I’ll only be so active, so it's not the end of my world to not be able to do certain things (though it would hurt like the dickens to not get between trees). 

This mirrors my whole life. I once went through a period of weight lifting where I could push 225 pounds straight up (once) while also knocking out a set of 60 push ups. Then life came, and I got lazy due to life’s struggles with the blahs (2006 – was it really that long ago). Prior to getting ready to go to Oregon in 2014, I did 204 miles in 33 days. This didn’t include a 23-mile hike and a sub 26 minute journey up the 1,000 steps (that book-ended those 33 days, but it was a time where I felt like I had the non-tubby me back (though I couldn't break that 210 barrier). Unfortunately, the events detailed in a recent post that alluded to my spondylosis, my great niece’s death, and school commitments put an end to that period, too, and now here I sit wishing the rain would go away so I could do my pre-summer Pinnacle journey (tomorrow?) and once again take my waist back, if only to fit into certain shirts and pants.

Thus, for all I want to do with my desire to keep getting out there to vistas and waterfalls (and the Great Gallery in Canyonlands of Utah - providing Trump doesn't sell it to the Russians, Chinese, ranchers, or miners first), I understand that no amount of angry shouts against ableism is going to level the playing field that will allow me to slam dunk or run a 4-minute mile with the dystonia that I am going through. Hell, I don’t even wear sneakers anymore, and when I wear my sandals, like last night, there are still times that I have to walk through the weird while walking around like a klutz who can’t swing his arms right until I can get my rhythm to be Dan again. Sadly, it is what it is (the new normal). I could care less what others think if this weird new gait allows me to get out and still do things. Someday, if I end up in some other level of can’t do, I’ll cross that bridge and figure it out. However, as long as I can experience the world and have my mind working, I’ll be OK.
Of course, it helps to have a good support system, and that’s my wife Heather and my friends and family. Thank you, God, for her and them.
All the same, for what I have and what I don’t, I had another dream last night where I was at a party with some old friends that I’ve been close to forever now, and they had these stacked, lit metal candle holders. I passed the task off to my wife to separate because I didn’t trust my left hand (tremor hand) to be able to hold them.
I know this mirrors things in my life because I’m very aware of needing to be able to be very conscious of obtaining my drink securely in my left claw when I go through the Clown Face Drive Thru Crews’ pass-off at the final window. No point having Hi-C orange all over my lap and car. I also don’t tend to walk with open drinks in the house other than water since the shakes don’t bode well with them either. This is also the new normal. I accept that.
However, as I said, when it comes to my mind, I am afraid of the finite nature of those split second (and longer) pauses coming to real life to visit me and deciding to stay. I have lots of great times to spend with my wife, family, and friends. I have the Blackrock Canyon stories to write (and my Parkinson’s journey, too) when I get my current almost done story here. I have a car to drive to many great and necessary places. I have skills to teach other people. I need to be consciously aware of how to get through my environment on outdoor journeys. Concepts and realities like dementia and Alzheimer’s scare me. The stories of Steve Gleason and Harry Kozol are real images that many of us look at as a vision in the distance. They may have different extremes, but our paths may parallel (then again, maybe they won’t; who knows how far this whole PD journey will take any of us). 
I want to learn and feel the excitement of educational Imax films like we saw when we went to Virginia Beach on Galapagos, the search for life in space, and the ocean. I want to be mesmerized and share my love of life and philosophy with everyone, even if they only want to sit in a chair long enough to be given a golden ticket to a job (AKA – a line on a resume as opposed to a real love of further learning).

I want to visualize the what ifs of the paranormal and supernatural, like some modern day Edgar Cayce going into naps to wake up and tell people the truth of what is (even if that doesn't jive with the scientific process). Of course, there’s no rationale to his work since he never had medical training, but it sure is neat to think about and experience (also, like we did at Virginia Beach).
On that note, I’ll leave this post with 2 previews of my fictional works. The first is from Dead Mouths: Book 1 and the second is from Dead Mouths: Book 2. They are already done if you want to read the whole things. Originally, the character featured in both of these "clips" (Dave) was meant to mirror myself, but as time has gone on, he's gone his own way and is no longer the main character. Suzie was meant to be a combination of people and influences. She is one of the main characters in the book, though she was only supposed to be a quick mention. Isn't it funny how characters in books take on lives of their own?
I'd like to think that the writings below mirror some of my interests and thoughts on the surreal and paranormal nature of the mind while mixed with education and scientific reasoning. Whatever they do for you, I hope you like them.

More previews are located HERE!! 


In addition to the drunken trailer trash / redneck vandals of the region, there were a lot of hippie / artsy / strange people interested in the metaphysical parts of the region. Some of them were sincere and good natured people like Suzie, who approached it as a spiritual religion, and others were misguided with conspiracies or based somewhere out of their minds on acid, psychedelics, and other drugs. Others were complete hucksters. As for Suzie, her new age interests seemed harmless to many people since they mirrored many of the ideas on shows such as American Paranormal and Historical Unearthings, the two biggest purveyors of “alternative” history beyond what the “mainstream scholars” were willing to accept. Whether Dave believed them or not, they at least were interesting television.
A part of him subscribed to the world of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan’s skepticism, and he really wanted to be smart enough about science to see the extreme joys in how much neater science was than science fiction, but a part of him just couldn’t grasp the mechanics of science well enough to move beyond the black and white space ship movies and monster flicks that he would watch at his grandmother’s house when he was a kid. Those and ghost shows like The Demon Hunters of Dodge County were exciting programming, even if they did appear to be 100% bullshit.
Nevertheless, he just loved the irrational world, so he spent more time with that than with PBS.
This wasn’t to say Dave didn’t spend time with science in passing. He did, and he accepted it for the truth of the scholars, but his mindset just never moved well enough with studying for physics, chemistry, and biology to process the knowledge. Instead, he loved history and the aesthetic qualities of the world, so he appreciated these scientific marvels for making that possible. Despite his academic deficiencies in science, he was definitely more than capable of calling bullshit on people who tried to speak science without understanding it. This aided him greatly in reading and grading student research papers in his now suspended life as a professor.
It would be fair to say, as well, that when Suzie spoke about this other scientific reality, he was captivated by her commitment and understanding of the paranormal and metaphysical realms. Sure, other guys would listen because they appreciated her feminine form to the point that they wanted to see it naked, but Dave really was enraptured by the way that the everyday and spiritual worlds could be navigated in these other ways, even though he never thought of them as “real.” Granted, he couldn’t understand it any more than he understood the chemical reaction that made photosynthesis possible, but just like with that process summarized, he got the quick overview of what this was all about and nodded in agreement.
Even if it wasn’t his spirituality, and there was nothing he could do to make it so, he appreciated that it was her philosophical / religious understanding of the universe, and listening and learning about it was pretty “right on” to him.
While he could appreciate some of the new age stuff, at least the stuff that wasn’t hippie dippy or con artist in nature, what he deliberately steered away from was all the satanic cults that frequented the area. 
“What happened, Suzie?”
“Well, to recap last night, and you can remind me when you feel like this is becoming familiar, it’s all about Gary. Gary and the hiker who was being treated in Hospital of Eastern Utah at Moab as well as another guy named Eli, who was one of those gang members that the news was talking about. They did this.”
“How do you know this? Did some other channel report this? Did you know them?”
She looked at Dave with sadness in her expression, and he muttered that he was sorry for asking.
“I guess there’s a lot of intrusiveness and over-informing in our conversations today.”
“No, that’s not it at all.”
“Then what is it?”
“I felt it and dreamed it. I saw these incidents and other things that happened or will happen. I can’t tell which is which in my dreams. All time feels the same to me in this world. History and premonitions are equally real. This is something we started talking about last night.”
“I sort of remember, but I’m not clear,” Dave added. “So you’re saying…”
“In so many words, just like I said last night about the premonitions, and believe me, this is hard enough to say once, but here’s twice, and yeah, I’m clairvoyant.”
He paused to reflect on this, and he nodded appropriately when it was done.
“OK,” Dave said, as respectfully as possible.
“I can also do the astral projection thing.”
“I must have been out of it because I’d remember that.”
“Yeah, you were.”
“So you can fly in your dreams?”
“No. I can leave my body in a different state of reality as if it were a dream,” she said and paused. “But it’s very real, Dave.”
His look of being stunned with wide eyes and confusion said it all, and this made his expression more real than the professional image he was trying to uphold.
“And just like I told you last night, I can go to places. As I also told you before, that’s how I knew your wife was…”
“Yes. Pregnant. Do you remember that?”
“Now that we’ve both said it so matter of factly, yeah, I do.”
“Well, I dreamt it, and then I had a feeling that I needed to go see it.”
“How did you know where we, I mean she, lives?”
“I just sensed it, and I focus my mind to go there, and I went.”
“Did she know you were there?”
“I think so, but she couldn’t see me.”
“So you’re saying that…”
“She has this ability as well, but I don’t think she knows it.”
“So she wasn’t hiding it from me?”
“I don’t think so.”
“You’re not shitting me are you? This isn’t mess with the middle aged square guy day is it?”
She gave him that look that told him how serious she was.
“When I go places, I’m not visible, but sometimes, people who are tuned in to these things can feel me while other times it’s like I don’t hide myself so well, and then I knock something over and give away my concealment. Maybe this is what leads people to think that they have ghosts since they kind of do have invisible entities walking through their houses.”
Dave shook his head both in confusion and disbelief. He found himself wondering how this could be real and exactly what’s going on in the world around him. At this, he started to feel angry about all of it.
“Why are you intruding in my personal life? Is there something I should know, something that you want to tell me? I’m married. I love my wife,” Dave added, holding up his ring for her to see. It wasn’t an angry gesture, but instead, it was almost like he was pleading for her to know and understand this, and it seemed to be more directed at her relationship with his wife than some concern for a potential extramarital affair with him, like he was feeling earlier.
“I know, and I’m not intruding in your life, but this whole thing is bigger than you, your wife, and me as people. I need you to know though that there’s no accident that you and I are here together. That’s why you were in my picture that I sent you. You were a connection to something larger than either of us alone or together.”
“I know.”
“For some reason, we were both at Mesa Verde in 2007. For all I know, some of the other people in the pictures might be associated with this, too.”
Her response was quick. It wasn’t like it was well-rehearsed, so it must be true, Dave thought as he replied back.
“Yeah, I was meaning to ask you about that. How did you even know to look?”
“A dream.”
“What happened in the dream?
“What happened in real life happened in the dream. I was there, and you were there, and that morning when I woke up, I went through my photo album, and you were really there on that photograph that my friend took. There are others. I think we might have followed each other around, unknowingly of course, for that whole day. I know that’s what usually happens in parks and places that have many stops to see, but I think that it’s more than that with this situation we were both in.”
“So what do you think it means?”
“It means that we are being drawn together for reasons that I can’t understand other than to say that your children are very instrumental to what is going to take place.”
“My wife is pregnant for the first time.”
“I know.”
“So how do I have children unless…”
“That’s a big pair of matzo balls to hang out.”
“I know.”
“So you’re dreaming about my kids now, too?” Dave asked, but it was more matter of fact and without any of the overprotective nature that was in his earlier tones.
“Yes. I don’t know their names, but I can tell you that they are not identical. One is a boy, and the one that will be the older one is a girl.”
“This is definitely turning into a reason to start drinking copiously in the morning.”
“Sorry. I don’t have any beer, but it is almost noon. We could go get some food, and you could have a beer, if that’s what you really want.”
“It’s not what I want. I guess I was just expressing myself poorly. It’s a lot to handle, and I’m already late for work.”
“You don’t have work this morning.”
“How do you know?”
“They’ve declared Gary Stanford the number one suspect in this situation, and they’re also looking for you. That whole newsflash thing.”
“Should I call someone?”
“When we get caught up with this conversation, but this conversation isn’t something that we can stop in the middle. I would have called, but a young woman calling for you, especially when you’re already married, screams take the day off for a John and Yoko bed-in.”
“I’m sure that’s what this could look like… yeah. Sounds fair enough.”
And with that, they looked at the television’s speculation of what was going on.
“How did they determine that Gary was the culprit, anyway?”
“They have video of him at a hardware / supply store in Blanding. He was buying a lot of suspicious things all at the same time. Gas cans, an axe, various tools, and the person at the register must have said something without even thinking. It might not have even been meant as confrontational, but it’s clear that Gary must have flipped out because he attacked and killed the old man behind the counter with his bare hands and tools he had bought. The weird thing was how he seemed to be outside of himself when he did it. Then he just stood there staring at the body for ten minutes before moving again.”
“When did you hear that?”
“It’s all part of the loop. It seems the national news is all Utah, all the time, today.”
“Who’d a thunk it?”
“I think that even more camera trucks are going to be coming into town in force soon.”
They both paused to think about what was going on and what had been said, and Dave’s mind thought about what Wolf wanted him to go and do the other day up at Fort Duchesne. As he started to drift off into the ADHD of his scattered thoughts, Suzie’s voice snapped him back to her reality.
“This seems like it’s only the beginning of something really bad going down.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” he said, pausing momentarily to recollect his thoughts. “So getting back to the earlier discussion, what do my kids, who aren’t going to be in this world for another seven months or so, have to do with Gary and an ancient archaeology site in the middle of Nowhere, Utah?”
“I don’t know. I just know that they do. There’s a guy named Lucas something…”
“Tony Lucas.”
“He’s in my dreams as well. He’s in a lot of them.”
And it was true. Tony was in her dreams. While many of her dreams focused on how she was going to be a protector of many different things, especially of making sure that the twins could come into the world safely, a fact that she chose not to express at the time, she knew that Tony was one of the ultimate forces for good in the world as it was now taking form, but even he didn’t know how big it would be until he met the others who were going to be coming to help them. In a way, he always had been a protector, but he never knew just what he did and didn’t mean to all of this larger than life, save the world stuff he was destined for.
She also knew about another woman, though she had not seen her face clearly yet. Eventually, her images would be concrete to Suzie regarding her exact purpose and what would have to be done about them. For this, this mysterious woman’s pregnancy also led her to this place, but unlike Charlotte, she had willingly volunteered to hand herself over to the demon in the canyon.
“There’s also a man who is coming in. He’s a very heroic and strong force. In some ways, it seems like he has magic powers – like a superhero, but he wasn’t born with these things. It’s because of things that have happened to him. I know it sounds funny to reflect how he’s our last and greatest hope, but he really is. The others in his group are powerful, but many of them are old. None are as strong as him.”
“What else do you know of him?”
“Just that he’s coming and that it’s our job to make sure that there’s something left for him to save.”
“Does this him have a name?”
“Colin. Colin Jameson.”

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