Dreams Within Dreams Within Dreams

Last night I had a very odd dream, with references to previous (recurring) dreams, interspersed with appearances from people I’ve met since:

The dream begins in rough marshy ground. There is a dredger visible in the distance, but only one of it’s two pumps appears to be working. I’m there with Claire, and we’re trying to pick our way across the reducing land to escape from the marsh, as the waters rise. Claire seems concerned that we may be cut off and stuck out here. A fog begins to fall around us, and visibility is reduced. The sun can just be made out, close to the horizon.

I find my way to a road – unmarked and single-track, but with tarmac. I’ve lost Claire somewhere, but this doesn’t seem to be of any major concern. I make my way along the road to a village, somewhat reminiscent in architecture and surroundings to those in the Yorkshire moors. The fog is clearing somewhat as I make my way through it’s streets and enter a public house. There, I order a drink and sit down.

At this point I realise that these things are not actually happening, but that I am telling them as a story. I am in the office at SmartData, sat at the meeting table. With me is my friend Sandy (a.k.a. Kink), and it’s to her that I’m relating this bizarre tale. The story is, in itself, based upon a recurring dream I had in about 1999/2000, in which I was spending a reasonable amount of time with Sandy, but I had not yet met other people who appear in the dream, such as Claire and Paul – these have been ‘added’ later. The story continues:

I sit at a corner table in the pub and sip my drink. Later, it begins to get busy. Three women come and join me at my table, and strike up conversation. Meanwhile, Paul wanders in and sits at one of the centre tables. For some reason, I recognise him, but cannot remember who he is or from where. He looks very thoughtful.

I large man with black hair and pale, drawn-out features enters the bar. Suddenly I am very afraid, because this man wants to kill me. I hide underneath the table as he announces that he’s looking for me. I wait until he leaves, and then reappear. The ladies I’m sat with are, of course, curious, and so I explain that it is me that the man is looking for. I decide that I am not safe here, finish my drink, and leave. Once outside, I continue down the street, wondering what to do next.

I see the man, at the opposite end of the street, running my way. I turn down a side street, and, upon reaching the next crossroads, am struck by a revelation – I’ve dreamt this before. The memory of this dream is fragmented within itself, but I can remember it nonetheless. I am still not aware that this, too, is a dream, but it starts to make sense: I foresaw this when I dreamt it before, and it is this same precognition that is having me recognise people (like Paul) that I’ve never met. I think hard, and remember that in the dream I turned right at this crossroads, and was later caught, and so instead I turn left. As the man rounds the corner I duck into a toy shop.

No, that’s not right – I did that last time, too. Same toy shop, but I’d turned right last time. No: maybe I made a mistake… or maybe I really can’t escape. I hear the man approaching the shop, so I rush down into it’s basement floor (childrens’ clothes, by the looks of things) and hide under a pile of coats. The man enters, and I hold my breath. But my cover worked, and he leaves. Again I’m struck by the memory of my dream, and I realise that this is what happened there, too: is there no escape from the increasingly-inevitable finale?

The sales assistant seems pissed off at my intrusion, so I buy one of the coats. Somehow, it’s too big for me, and I conceal myself within it. Every step I take, I remember as having already done, in my previous dream, but never soon enough in advance to reconsider and take a different course. And so it goes on, step by step, as I return to the bar, each step preordained – yet still unanticipated – as it falls.

I pause in my storytelling in anticipation of the next bit – the bit I’d been looking forward to telling Sandy. In this ‘reality’, the occurrences in the village are not dreams – not any more than the action of telling them to her was, in any case. However, I talked of it as if the dream I was remembering was just that; a dream. Within this convoluted little nightmare she was fascinated by the story. As I came to this, a convenient break point, Claire and Paul appeared in the hallway outside. Paul was wearing exactly the same clothes as he had been in the story.

During this break in the storytelling, I produced a hardback lined A4 pad, reminiscent of the ones in which I kept a diary during the years that I was at college, and for a little while afterwards. In the dream, I had kept several separate books, one for each of several friends who I saw less frequently than I would like, and whenever I’d had the chance to meet with them, I’d had them write a page or so in their book with an update of their life since their last entry. Sandy obliged, looking over some of her previous entries and reminiscing awhile, before adding a new entry. Then, I continued my story (again, feeling as if I am ‘acting it out’ at the time):

Re-entering the bar I am immediately confronted by my pursuer. I hide underneath the hood of my coat, and affect an accent when I talk in order to conceal my identity. It works, and, thrown off by my disguise, the man turns away, giving me a chance to escape. I retreat to the street, where I leap onto the back of a passing bus, and hang on as it drives off. The village disappears behind me.

At about this point, my alarm clock went off, bringing an end to the dream. Interpretations and comments welcome.


How frustrating is it to write 5 CDs for clients, only to discover an error in some SQL scripts on them that mean that they won’t work outside of the development LAN… <grr>

It’s the world rebalancing the good and bad things, I guess. Making up for last night’s wild rampant sex tour of the flat (starting on the couch, finishing on the bed… without need for re-entry). Damn, we were horny.

I’d better fix these SQL scripts. Ooh: office Christmas dinner this evening! That’s something to look forward to.

Some Days You’re The Statue; Some Days You’re The Pigeon

I’m at the office. It’s almost 5pm. So far today I’ve achieved what should be estimated as approximately 7 days work. Some days the code just flows. I like being me.

On the other hand, it may be that I’ve just written the wrong 7 days worth of code – as in; the 7 days worth of code I should be starting next week. Despite having achieved the entirety of my work schedule for the next month, I haven’t yet finished what I was supposed to be doing this morning.

My boss is pretty level-headed and appreciates the way I work, though – that if he doesn’t expect me to do things in the order he asks, and he doesn’t mind that some days I achieve nothing but surfing the web and posting to my blog, and that other days are like this one, with immense productivity. I’m an outlier even by software engineering standards. I’m a bit of a loose cannon. But in any case; I’m worth more than he’s paying me and we both know it, and neither of us care terribly, so everything’s pretty damn sweet.

Got my assignment in on time. Think I’ve done it quite well (actually went to the library and read old journals and books and things – very scary and academic and cool at the same time: after all; it’s just about possible to pass a comp. sci degree with Google as your primary reference). Time will tell.

Chez Geek night tonight at the Ship. Looking forward to it.

First Aid

Yesterday was a long day. After nine hours at work, had two and a half hours of First Aid refresher training at Aberystwyth ambulance station.

On the upside, I’d forgotten how subtly dark paramedics’ sense of humour can be… when one particularly overmoral woman expressed concern at a particular element of the training: “But they could die!”, one of the ‘medics responded, deadpan, with: “No; they’re already a corpse. They’re dead. They’re just lying there, being completely useless.” I like paramedics.

I have a lot of work to do this week – my final week full-time before starting again as a part-timer while I put some work towards graduating – and I’m getting bogged down in other people’s bureaucracy. I can’t get my client’s clients’ computers to connect to my client’s computer because my client’s network administrator has put a particularly secure firewall in the way, and he needs a list of IP addresses (unique identifiers for computers on TCP/IP networks, like the Internet) of all the servers on my client’s clients’ networks, but everybody’s got meetings at stupid times and I can never get hold of the people I need when I need them and… aarrgghh!!!

It’ll all be fine.

Smart Alex

Alex, my incompetent co-worker, came up with the following gem in today’s meeting when talking about a product that would aid employers in securely tracking how long their employees actually spend working:

“It’s not going to have any of that… security… nonsense.”

I shall have to beat him to death later.

P.S. told you that this thing was going to get big, quick. The Register reports “All your Web typos are belong to us”, and I quote: “Already a backlash is building, with Net admins being urged to block Verisign’s catch-all domain. This could get very messy.”

Dark Side Of The Moon

Spent last night in a dark room with Paul, Kit and Claire, listening to a DTS-encoded 5.1 surround sound version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in a long while. The sound quality was unbelievable – the patterns moved and shifted around and through us. Quite stunning. I felt my heart rate change several times to match the beat

Nobody’s updated their web journal in several days except Kit. That makes my work morning a little boring.

We have a new guy working for us – Daniel – a school leaver who’ll be helping us for the summer. Alex and I are trying to get him talking, without any luck yet.

Suppose I’d better get on with some work, now.

Update (20th March 2012) – crosslinks:

  • Paul’s post about getting to use his DTS system
  • Kit’s post about the experience of listening to Dark Side of the Moon with us

Dreadful Deadlines

Just been working like a demon towards a 13:00 deadline this afternoon, delivering a piece of software to a client. Barely made it, but what a buzz!!! Celebrated with a pub lunch with two colleagues, Lisa (the SQL Queen) and Alex (the CodeMonkey, our office pet).

Claire called from Norfolk to say “Hi!” I’d have liked to chat longer, but I have work to do.

Have promised to scan and archive some old magazines with Kit this evening. Ho hum.