Bugging Out on a Budget, part 2

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I am happy to report that I was able to fit in making another episode of Bugging Out on a Budget this past week before I lost my voice completely. ¬†Let me explain… unfortunately what was a relatively minor cold earlier in the week has now blossomed into full-blown bronchitis and I can’t sleep due to the coughing. ūüė¶ ¬†So I have opted to put my bleary-eyed time to good use by getting this posted, before I attempt to catch some winks again. ¬†Please enjoy the next round of demonstrations and discussions for my most recently purchased products, and absolutely leave me more feedback! ¬†I am still just getting this thing off the ground and doing the best with what I have, and your advice and input can go a long way in helping me provide even more quality content. ¬†For example, I did obtain and utilize a tripod for recording this time, so my poor wife didn’t have to try to remain motionless for another 15 minute video (bless her heart for being willing to do the first one!).

In this video, I have also addressed some questions and suggestions I’ve received from viewers, and will continue to do so as appropriate. ¬†One viewer from the¬†Bugout community on reddit¬†mentioned that the bag¬†I chose to purchase, shown in my previous video, has some issues with comfort and usability. ¬†I won’t be able to fully comment on these concerns until I’ve had a chance to take the bag on a decent excursion, but for now I can at least demonstrate what the bag looks like full, and how it fits on my body.

Here is the bag fully stocked with all the essentials I’ve shown in my videos. ¬†It handled everything with some room to spare, and it was easy to organize things by frequency and urgency of use. ¬†I helped maintain a solid¬†flat surface on the side that rests on my back¬†by first inserting my folded shelter tarp into the bag pressed against the very back, and then packing in other items around it to keep it in place. ¬†Since this bag doesn’t have a frame, arranging your contents like this can help provide some added comfort.

Overall I am happy with the feel of this pack, but as I said I will need to put it through some rigorous endurance testing to be able to fully judge its efficacy. ¬†The weight feels pretty evenly distributed, with no noticeable pressure points or areas of discomfort. ¬†The adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps provide a high degree of customization to the fit of this pack. ¬†I am a sturdy 6’0″ and just shy of 200 pound man, though, so I can only assess its comfort and portability according to my standards. ūüėČ ¬†I thoroughly hope that it turns out to be a great bag, since that wonderful $30 price point is just so darn hard to turn down.

Thanks again for reading and watching, and I hope you’ll keep coming by to see what I’m SMASHING next! ¬†ūüôā

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Taking Care of Yourself – Food and Exercise

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It’s been hard to think of how I want to start this one, because much of it seems like it would pretty straightforward to many people. ¬†I realized, however, that their might be specific tips I can share that have worked for me, even if they are from other sources (which I will recognize if they are), to help you in being healthy as a form of preparedness.

One of the first things that I learned several years ago is to learn how to cook for myself. ¬†Not only will having this skill¬†save you an immense amount of money (trust me, it adds up) on fast food and such every week, but you can¬†find yourself eating more nutritious things, and you can impress your significant other with your new-found culinary prowess (it works, again I speak from experience). ¬†Learning how to cook in a comfortable setting can also give you insight into details that will be of critical importance in survival settings, such as how to properly cook different kinds of meat to a safe temperature (in case you didn’t know, it’s¬†here). ¬†These details can mean life or death in, well, life or death situations. ¬†…Stupid easy phrase that doesn’t have a simple, comparable replacement… ūüėõ

For the time being, until SHTF (S…tuff Hits The Fan, for the uninitiated), there are things we can do to make our lives easier and incorporate a more healthy diet without significant effort. ¬†Today I’m going to show you my recipe for a week’s worth of breakfasts that is healthy, tasty, and saves a great deal of time by getting everything prepped on Sunday night. ¬†Once you get in the habit of doing something like this, is becomes easier and easier, and you see just how much benefit it has in your day to day life. ¬†Do like me, throw on a pair of headphones, and watch your favorite shows while you cook! ¬†I have kept up with SO many shows just by incorporating my headphones and tablet into my routine of responsibilities. ūüôā

In the following pictures, I will be using these ingredients: olive oil, diced garlic, whole grain white rice, bell peppers (different colors), organic white mushrooms, sweet onion, shredded cheese, a large egg (white or brown), seasonings to taste.  No more than a total of $15 for the entire week, much cheaper and healthier than fast food breakfast or even cereal every day.

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First, after heating a bit of olive oil and diced garlic in the pan, dice and saute a¬†whole onion, 2-3 medium bell peppers, and a 16 ounce package of organic sliced mushrooms with¬†a few splashes of low sodium soy sauce and worchestershire sauce. ¬†These amounts can be altered according to your taste, and you can even substitute different vegetables as you like, provided they mix and saute well with the others. ¬†Be creative! ¬†This is the healthiest part of the mix, though, so try to keep it in the veggie spectrum. ūüôā

At the same time, cook a large batch of rice. ¬†Rice cookers are awesome and you should invest in one NOW. ¬†It’s ridiculously cheaper to own a rice cooker and buy rice in bulk than to buy any of those minute rice bags or anything. ¬†Once the batch is cooked, fill several containers with roughly 1/2 cup of rice each, and prepare for the rest (I like Chinese food containers because they are sorta free and hold a good amount for a single meal).

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Top the rice with the veggie stir fry you made earlier, as shown below:

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Now you can see that I have five breakfasts¬†prepared for the week ahead. ¬†In addition, I supplement each¬†dish with a couple extras: one large egg (which I crack open on top and heat in the microwave at work to cook the egg), a container of shredded cheese (I freakin’ love cheese, and in moderation it’s really not bad for you), and a to-go container of Sriracha (I put it on EVERYTHING, so breakfast is no exception. ¬†Yes, that is a keychain Sriracha bottle, I have a problem).

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These small supplement containers are convenient because most of the time they can just be refilled each day without the need for extensive cleaning. ¬†Keep an eye on them, though; wouldn’t want to contract a food-borne illness because yesterday’s egg had accidentally cracked open and wasn’t cleaned.

Now I have breakfast figured out for every day of the week ahead of me, and that saves immense amounts of time in the morning, just as preparing everything else the night before does (read: lay out your clothes, pack your lunch, etc.).  Practicing habits that require forethought like this are great ways to manage your awareness and preparedness.

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Another factor of survival that has become apparent during my study is the importance of staying in decent physical shape. ¬†Even though my main job entails working at a computer, as a Christian I have striven to maintain reliable physical performance in order to aid those around me. ¬†All the preparation in the world isn’t going to do you much good if you can’t fight off or outrun your threat, though. ¬†Sure, you might have five safes full of guns, but what happens when you can’t immediately get to one and you are faced with a physical struggle to survive? ¬†You need to prepare yourself on all fronts.

Basic cardio is a must, and makes the top of the list in regards to preparation. ¬†As much as you might like to put your time into pumping up your muscles and looking intimidating, that’s about as much good as it will be for you in a life or death scenario. ¬†The better option is to focus on activities that require lengthy periods of physical exertion, such as running in particular. ¬†I know running isn’t many people’s favorite physical activity, but it’s one of the core things to practice. ¬†There may come a time where the only thing you can rely upon is your own body, and you want to make sure that it is a vehicle that can sustain you for whatever journey you face. ¬†Big muscles, while periodically useful, aren’t necessarily going to help you survive every one of these situations. ¬†I used to do P90X routines for my workouts, but I focused too much on the muscle-building portions, while shrugging off the cardio, plyometrics, and other such workouts on a regular basis. ¬†I built a decent muscle base over time, but realized when I tried to go for a run that I had hardly any¬†endurance for long-distance cardio activities. ¬†This is a dangerous position to be in, and I immediately changed my focus to the exercises that are most important for survival. ¬†A raider or zombie isn’t going to care how ripped you are, but how fast and agile you are might just make a real difference!

In closing, do whatever it takes to get some serious cardio routines going.  Not everybody likes running (I understand, but it grows on you), so start with cycling, rowing, or something else that suits your fancy if you must.  Just be sure to test yourself regularly to ensure that you are up to the challenge of the strange things that might come your way.  Personally, I will be participating in the Rugged Manic race in May, which is a 5k obstacle course.  In addition to being heaps of fun, these things can be a great way to gauge how equipped you are able to handle some extreme activity.  Give it a shot if you are unsure, and it may just be a wake-up call for your life!

First Survival Video – Bugging Out on a Budget

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Please welcome the first of (hopefully) many videos to come from Theorem Collider!  This time I showcase some important items to add to a BOB (Bug Out Bag), where to get them cheaply, and how to repurpose some simple items to meet survival needs.  This is just the beginning of what I hope to be a consistent offering of Theorem Collider, providing insight in how to take care of yourself and the ones you love when the (stuff) hits the fan.  I hope you enjoy!

My Heart in Infinite Places: Another Dream Discussion

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Normally I would not be inclined to return to a previous topic so soon after initially sharing on it, but it happened again this morning, and I can’t keep it all in. ¬†It is now the following night, and I have yet to emotionally detach myself from the dream world I inhabited at this day’s beginning.

What struck me most profoundly upon first waking this morning was the¬†crushing impression that I was being pulled from another entirely real and legitimate existence, just as tangible and important as this one. ¬†Imagine living your daily life as you do now, assuming and oblivious, only to one moment have your consciousness irresistibly displaced¬†into a completely different and unconnected life. ¬†Memories of your newly awakened mind coincide with that reality, and yet a cascade of glimmering recollections¬†remain from the world you just left, the world you had thought was real. ¬†Imagine the desperation, the helplessness, the mourning of leaving behind all¬†you loved, while you envision that those you left are in turn wracked with confusion and guilt over your mysterious¬†absence. ¬†Almost worst of all, this is just another in a string of precious lives you’ve abandoned against your will, most likely to never resume again.

That is what I felt this morning, returning to this state of perception.  Are those I left behind waiting for me, wondering to where I departed?  Or am I perhaps still there somehow, still living on in a manner wholly disconnected and unaware?  I struggled between the crashing, coalescing realities dueling in my mind, pleading for a way to somehow inhabit both at once.  Squeezing my eyes shut in an effort to return to the waning vision, I eventually overcame the disorientation and found sleep once more.  Incredibly, I returned to that exact existence so recently departed.  Minimal time had passed there, wherein no one seemed to have noticed my absence.  As with many non-lucid dreams, I immediately resumed my blissful ignorance of the higher plane in which my body lay, fully settled into comfortable acceptance of my current reality.  However, after another considerable (perceived) length of time there and much endearing interaction with that world, I was once again plucked from my reverie and deposited back into my pillow-supported head.  As you may imagine, a wave of doubly overwhelming melancholy washed over me, and left me there to saturate in despair.

I wanted to be as descriptive as possible when relating this experience, because as melodramatic as it might seem now (even to me somewhat), at the time when this occurs it feels so impossible to describe or contain. ¬†As I related in my previous post about dreams, the emotions connected to them are almost irrationally powerful, to the point of feeling remarkably¬†crippling at times. ¬†After my second passage from the dream world this morning, I was really struggling with what to do next. ¬†I wanted to continue¬†feeling that intensity, even if it was negative in some senses. ¬†The thought came to my mind of what comedian Louis C. K. once said about our tendency to bury those acute emotions, distracting ourselves with technology or some other comfortable diversion. ¬†It isn’t healthy to live like¬†that; we need the catharsis of just letting it cascade out of us sometimes. ¬†I worried about upsetting my wife, though, both with revealing¬†my level of discomfort at the time and with relating my emotional attachment to these other realms. ¬†There was an honest concern in my heart that it be known that my sorrow regarding leaving the dreams was in no way a reflection of any hidden dissatisfaction with the present reality. ¬†She was wonderfully understanding and comforting, though, a blessing as always.

I reached for my headphones, as nothing helps to un-stopper the floodgates of emotion like the right song.  I knew exactly what I wanted to hear in that moment, a recently discovered, beautifully melancholy arrangement by the band Shiny Toy Guns, called Wait For Me.  Even the opening whispers of the song seemed to speak just to me in my present situation, burrowing into me as though they were the words of those I had left behind:

It’s like everything turns into a dream
A dream without an end
I can’t remember what happened
I just remember you
And how you made me laugh out loud
When you decided to go,
I wish I could have gone with you
I don’t like it here anymore
And I don’t like being alone
And when I cry,
Who’s going to make it okay?
When I fall, who’s going to carry me?

I don’t think I have it left in me to describe the effectiveness of this exercise in embracing the flood. ¬†Over the remainder of the day, I’ve been able to recover fairly well, inevitably distracted by other commitments and opportunities. ¬†In the bits of downtime that I’ve had, though, I’ve played this song again and again, as it has helped keep many of the memories fresh and unfading. ¬†Music is incredibly powerful in so many ways, even enough to keep me tethered to alternate realities. ¬†I can only hope that over the course of this life’s duration, I’ll be able to revisit them all.

One final note on music, as I would be very interested to hear other stories relating to the following: the experience of which I just wrote is at least the second time I can recall having¬†woken up with an entirely new and unfamiliar song playing¬†in my head. ¬†Notes, lyrics, everything put together, yet I can say with utmost certainty I have never heard them before in this world. ¬†I’m familiar with stories of famous musicians receiving inspiration for some of their greatest songs from their dreams; perhaps they found a way to share a piece of those faraway worlds with the rest of us.

What is Right Anymore?

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I don’t even know where to begin tonight, as so much of this is ready to just burst out of me like a Ridley Scott alien. ¬†This year has been a significant turning point in my life, as it has been the first time I decided to become emotionally and intellectually invested in an election process, at least beyond what appears to be the investment that an average American has made in the past (this includes me). ¬†This statement is not meant to¬†disparage the average American voter, as most of us only have so much time and patience to commit to the turmoil of the election process, where it sincerely feels like our voice is never heard anyway. ¬†To be honest, I was previously of the mentality that has most likely plagued a great deal of the millennial generation: that our opinion and our vote doesn’t matter, since the country is run by the privileged elite anyway. ¬†I am a bit ashamed of my apathy regarding my responsibility, and I now hold to the fact¬†that regardless of how biting and vindictive the current political climate may be, at least it seems like people of all ages are making the sincere effort to be active and informed.

Getting back to my underlying point, though; regardless of which candidate you are supporting, the most frustrating point of this season, and of living in a culture of free speech in general, is the incessant¬†need to be RIGHT, which inevitably comes at the expense of others being WRONG. ¬†Of course free speech is a human right and should not be restrained or subdued by any outside force; but what about restraining it within ourselves? ¬†Not because of any outward oppression or judgment, but because maybe, just maybe, we don’t always need to be¬†right.

I will use myself as an example, as I try my best to be a representative of this ideal. ¬†As I’ve related before and is apparent in my About page, I am a 30 year old Christian white male, the supposed epitome of privilege and source of oppression to so many. ¬†I cannot help but sadly shake my head at this notion, not because I dismiss any¬†concerns, but simply because¬†you do not know me, just as much as I do not know you. ¬†You don’t know that I’ve endured traumatic hardship, that I’ve been abused and tormented by an unfaithful, drug-addicted spouse, or lived in filth due to lack of any other option. ¬†You don’t know that I’ve been through bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills that I could not pay, or endured multiple surgeries due to chronic medical issues that brought on those bills in the first place. ¬†You don’t know that I am still buried in student loan debt, from just trying to make make something better of my life. ¬†Unless you knew me personally, how could you know any of that until just now? ¬†And yet some¬†would say that I am an oppressor? ¬† The only thing that I have oppressed, or rather suppressed, is crippling depression when enduring these realities, just enough to keep pushing forward and, with hard work and the Lord’s help, dig myself out of them. ¬†This type of argument is faulty due to the simple fact that it fails to account for any individual. ¬†No one race or gender or political persuasion is a representative of all its constituents. ¬†So many people struggle so fiercely to be recognized for their uniqueness, and yet utterly fail to do so in return to their audience.

I need to stay on topic here, because I really am striving to refrain from singling out any particular group or ideal in this discussion. ¬†This is because THERE IS NO ONE¬†PERPETRATOR. ¬†I only want to get across the point that you aren’t always going to be right. ¬†Your beloved politician may fail you, your enamored movement may falter in representing you, even your religion may not always have the perfect fit you so desire. ¬†IT. IS. INEVITABLE. ¬†We live in an imperfect world filled with incredibly imperfect people, and you are one of them. ¬†You are a single life in the midst of billions currently, trillions past, and untold numbers yet to come. ¬†While I applaud your desire to make a difference, please remember that you are not omnipotent or infallible. ¬†If you believe in God, then there is only one omnipotent and infallible Being. ¬†If you don’t, there there are literally none. ¬†Regardless, you are not among that severe minority.

So, instead of beating our heads against the wall, or as in many cases, trying to beat someone¬†else’s¬†head against the wall, maybe if we just shut our mouths and open up our eyes, ears, and hearts, we could learn how to truly coexist more peacefully. ¬†SO MUCH pain has been caused by the straightforward fact that some individual or group believed they must¬†enforce their beliefs or ideologies on others. ¬†Put whatever label on it that you want: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Athiest, Feminist, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Gay, Straight, I could be here all night¬†citing labels… they are¬†all¬†guilty in some way of trying to enforce their standards on everyone else. ¬†Maybe if we all took the time to understand and embrace the true beauty of freedom, we would realize that the core tenet of that liberty is letting others have the same, and living by a standard we can¬†all abide by: treat others as you would have them treat you.

Bible Study, Round 2

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Ding ding!

Yesterday was Bible study, and as I shared last week the topics of my dad’s teachings have been pretty interesting, with this week being no exception. ¬†Just for future reference, our¬†church does a cozy little cafe-type thing before the lesson, with a different homemade entree for sale each week at $3 per person; a pretty awesome deal for the amount and quality of the food, and since¬†I don’t have to cook that night. ¬†I referenced this so that the next sentence would make sense.

As we sat and enjoyed our chicken pot pie with biscuits, my dad busied himself in writing out all of the lesson’s key points on a large whiteboard, as he does every week. ¬†He’s definitely one of those teachers who likes to write things out on the board as he goes, but¬†he is also one whose handwriting will inevitably¬†drift on a downward slope across the board if he’s rushing too much, so prepping ahead of time has worked best. ¬†Here were this week’s talking points, all neat and tidy:

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So what is a familiar spirit?  Is it something you summon in Skyrim when your conjuration skill is high enough?

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While I do jest, this¬†is actually a relatively appropriate example, as some belief systems see communicating with or conjuring familiar spirits to be something of benefit, a source of protection or guidance. ¬†According to scripture, however, familiar spirits are nothing to be trifled with, and are actually heavily condemned. ¬†That is because a familiar spirit¬†is in truth a demonic spirit that has accompanied a single person for a large portion or even all of their life. ¬†This does not necessarily mean that the person was possessed, but rather they could have suffered from some sort of bondage that allowed the spirit to cling to them; think addiction, perversion, etc. ¬†In the event of this person’s death, the spirit is then given opportunity to masquerade as the person to those who would seek communion with the departed, whispering intimate knowledge and even mimicking a ghostly presence of the person. ¬†This is, in fact, the Christian explanation for phenomena such as hauntings, spirit mediums, ouija boards, and the like. ¬†You aren’t truly seeing or interacting with the trapped soul of a person with unfinished business, but rather a phantom thespian perpetuating a ruse meant to undermine the rules of life and death as defined by the Bible. ¬†Jesus spoke of the placement of a “great chasm” between the realms of the living and dead, which none would be permitted to cross. ¬†In other words, once you die, you proceed to your appointed destination, and there you stay, permanently divided from the world of the living. ¬†No WiFi or cell phones to communicate, not even dial-up access. ¬†You can read more about it¬†here¬†and review the scripture references if you like.

Now I’m definitely not one to ascribe a demonic aspect to all paranormal phenomena or misunderstood occurrences, but I will say I see the merit of the belief. ¬†As a Christian, the idea of a soul remaining here after death is entirely contradictory to the fundamentals of God’s established methods. ¬†In addition, I am much more comfortable believing that a haunting or eerie presence is in fact a demonic spirit, considering the alternative is that a person’s soul is perhaps trapped in perpetual unrest, even doomed to repeat the travesties of history that we so often see associated with haunting activity. ¬†Even Art Bell, the talk radio legend himself, when presenting evidence of anomalous activity such as EVPs,¬†often referenced the disturbing nature of the idea¬†that your family member, or close friend, or even a little child could be captive¬†in such a state. ¬†I gladly subscribe to the option where oddly enough, demons are the less unsettling proposal of the two.

Moving on now, though…

The items listed on the right side of the board were meant to be generally broad overview of some topics, activities, etc. that could lead to the affliction of familiar spirits.  Many are ones you would expect to see in this context, and were covered with little additional discussion.  One of these, however, seemed to strike a chord with many in attendance, and actually kept us at the meeting for nearly an hour longer than originally scheduled due to the heated debate that ensued.  Can you guess which one?

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Yep, music. ¬†Particularly rock music, although rap was referenced some as well. ¬†Let me preface any of the following occurrences¬†by stating that a large portion of our congregation is, let’s just say significantly more advanced in years than I, so I wasn’t terribly surprised by some of the push-back. ¬†To condense a great deal of debate into digestible nugget, I will just say that there were a handful of attendees who were not hesitant in vocalizing their belief that there is “no such thing as Christian rock music”, and basically all forms of rock music are a tool of the devil. ¬† Sigh…

At this point, I will just say that I am glad the Lord has helped develop within me the ability for self-restraint, as there is little more infuriating that a broad-sweeping¬†statement of utter condemnation. ¬†I completely understand that I am two generations removed from these folks and they grew up with entirely different experiences and convictions, but I guess you could say I’m intolerant of intolerance. ūüôā After taking a moment to collect my thoughts and listen to the responses of others, I presented a simple counter-argument, basically consisting of “so who decides which genres make the Godliness cut?” ¬†There can be Christian country and Christian alternative and heck, even Christian jazz, but not rock (or rap)? ¬†Once again, I was proud of my dad, and of several other members in attendance, for siding with reason and agreeing that any form of music can be used for God if it carries the correct message and its aim is to minister to the spirit. ¬†Denouncing¬†an entire genre and its associated culture is the perfect way to lose the opportunity to reach those who might identify with it. ¬†In I Corinthians 9:22, Paul said “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” ¬†I think the message is pretty clear that we aren’t supposed to sit in our little bubbles, condemning the outside world for not conforming to our expectations. ¬†We are supposed to be seekers and doers, and even more importantly to treat others as we would have them treat us. ¬†If you are going to mope around and stew in bitter judgement, don’t expect anything different in return.

I wish I could stay to write more, in hopes that I could possibly encompass the unexpected intensity of that night, but the hour grows late, and my mind muddled. ¬†Thanks for letting me share these experiences with you, though. ¬†I will do my absolute best to continue posting regular content, and I hope you will return for it when I do! ¬†God bless. ūüôā

Thoughts on Dreams

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There is something incredibly intriguing, and yet equally as troubling, about the fleeting wisps of hard-remembered events that occur in our minds during¬†the sleep state. ¬†Why is it that I can wake to the crushing denial of leaving behind what feels like an entirely different life, only to have my mind purposefully and methodically squeegee the memories of it away at a moment’s notice if I’m not careful? ¬†It is an honest admission to say that the emotions I’ve felt in dreams have been more visceral and pervasive than almost any I’ve felt in “real life”, and yet our minds are conditioned to just ignore and forget them, if they even store any transient image of them to begin with. ¬†The fact that I can recall infinite pieces of dreams over my entire life, but not reconstruct the entirety of a single one, just seems so unfair. ¬†The dreams of just last night have spurred me to record my thoughts on this matter, since as with many, I awoke with such distress at my departure that my entire day has been effected by it.

What are some truly strange or unique things that you have discovered in your dreams? ¬†In what way to they stand apart from simple phantasms of your imagination, fueled by daytime stresses and poor evening food choices? ¬†An example from mine would be that I can map out an entire system of roads in my dreams that are consistent across a myriad of nighttime adventures. ¬†If in my waking state I trace one of the dream roads in my mind’s eye, I can watch as snippets¬†of dozens of different dreams flood my mind. ¬†Take a right at this intersection, a new series a dreams appears. ¬†Take a left, an entirely different cascade of memories begins. ¬†Does this happen simply because as a child I was always very aware of roads and directions and how everything connected in my waking life as well, or is there¬†actually a road map for many of my dreams? ¬†Granted I quite often have dreams completely removed from the expectations of standard reality, where roads wouldn’t do much good at all, but those that somewhat mimic the waking life do all seem to follow this trend.

This observation is a prelude to one of my favorite theories, and one that is most definitely not mine alone. ¬†Another observer such as myself remarks on the¬†consistent state of these realities¬†(such as a traceable road map), even so much as retaining the changes we ourselves make there. ¬†Time travel is another layer to this already perplexing onion; are we permitted some excursions to points already printed on our timeline? ¬†One article I found relates¬†a story quite similar to one of my own, where I traveled back in time to meet my mother when she was pregnant with me and see my older brother as a toddler. ¬†She smiled and wept to know that I was a healthy and purposeful man, but refused any conversation beyond that for fear of possible consequences. ¬†What purpose could by brain have possibly had in concocting something like this randomly? ¬†Another form of time travel dreams (of sorts) are those of marked, almost debilitating¬†time dilation, with many of the accompanying psychological effects endured¬†upon waking. ¬†One such dream I experienced seemed to last that entirety of 60+ years, which found me to be a very old man who had lost so much, only to awaken to a passage of less than 8 hours. ¬†I actually cried that morning, so shaken by the experience and unsure how to process returning to this state of existence. ¬†One of my favorite manga artists, Itou Junji, depicts the experience with such accuracy in¬†Long Dream, which I highly recommend reading. ¬†It can be a little unnerving, as many of Junji’s works are, but it is also profound and insightful.014

Only one factor of dreaming that I have not yet discussed dissuades me, if only slightly, from the idea of dreams being alternate realities. ¬†Have you ever experienced the magic of “waking up” within your own dream? ¬†Of not only becoming aware that you are indeed dreaming, but going as far as¬†being able to enforce your will on the world around you? ¬†I would recommend investigating sources like¬†Lucidity.com,¬†World of Lucid Dreaming, or the Lucid Dreaming community on Reddit¬†for more information on this subject for the uninitiated. ¬†My question then becomes, if I can bend and shape the world around me with only my thoughts, is it really anything that exists beyond the bounds of my own psyche? ¬†The likely answer seems to be no, but that is just my mentality operating under the assumption that all other realities must follow the same rules and quirks to which this one adheres. ¬†Many times I have found myself lucid but completely powerless to alter the world around me, save for normal interactions as one would expect in the conscious state. ¬†I am at a loss for a definitive answer in this respect, but part of me loves that about this whole topic, that it is something we as humans still haven’t come to fully grasp.

With my 30th birthday only a week away, I find myself ever more anxious for a technology to arise that allows us to record and review our dreams as the actually appear (say what you will about Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but¬†that sequence¬†always stuck with me). ¬†Apparently some rudimentary version of the tech is¬†already in the works, but is limited to only matching your possible dream vision¬†with existing topics and images, and with¬†meager accuracy at best. ¬†If the Lord decides to come back first, I’m all for it, but otherwise I sincerely hope I’m around long enough to see this become a reality.