Shopping

You know those dreams where there’s a really awesome shop, and then you wake up and forget the dream, but halfway through the day you remember the really awesome shop and for a moment you think it’s real and then you remember it was just a dream and there’s no really awesome shop?

I hate those dreams.

But I tell ya, if Games Workshop branches were as amazing as I dream they are, there’d be a lot less whinging in the tabletop community.

(I dream about Games Workshop. It’s hard to put into words just how sad that is).

The Laxatives were Super Effective

Terrible insomnia last night. When I finally did get off to sleep I dreamt that I was hand crafting miniature figures of characters from Little Orphan Annie, a project that also (for some reason) required a miniature replica of Bassendean Oval decorated with a gigantic beer advertisement. I can only blame too much cheese.

Anyway, you may (or may not) have noticed that there hasn’t been much activity on the Wyrmlog throughout the last month. This is because – in addition to the usual stress in the run up to the festive season – I was dealing with a potentially serious health issue. Without going into too much hideously organic detail I was suffering a series of intestinal upsets allied with strange abdominal pains, which led my doc to order a full endoscopy and colonoscopy, which for the uninitiated means sticking cameras into both ends of my poor, abused body to try and figure out what the hell was going on.

Now of course the worst case scenario was cancer…

And while based on my symptoms there was nothing to particularly indicate cancer there was nothing to not indicate it either. So until I got the tests done I was in a state of some nervousness. By which I mean only just staving off blind, screaming panic by sheer effort of will, which left very little time for such things as writing blog entries.

So, I spent the weekend before Christmas not eating and downing vast quantities of various nasty liquids and pills that did a quite effective job at aggressively clearing out the entire length of my digestive system, and on Monday went in to hospital to have cameras go adventuring where no cameras had gone before. These – naturally – turned up nothing more than a bit of general inflammation and mild diverticulitis which while not completely explaining my abdominal pains managed to rule out any nefarious malignancies about to drag me into an early grave. Thank God.

Since then I’ve been regaining my mental equilibrium courtesy of turkey sandwiches (perhaps the most reliably enjoyable aspect of the holiday season), Minecraft and a number of really excellent books I got for Christmas. I can particularly recommend The Martian by Andy Weir which I received at about 12:30 on Christmas day and finished at 11:30 the same night, having been quite unable to put it down. I’m also working my way through The World of Ice and Fire, which Rebecca and Dom kindly got me, knowing my penchant for getting way too into the background detail of fantasy settings.

(On that note, could it be any more obvious that the Andals are Anglo-Saxon expies? “The Axe”, c’mon! And what’s up with all the Lovecraft references? Oh, and a proper map would be nice. You know, this really sounds like I don’t like the book – nothing could be further from the truth, it’s just that fulsome praise is boring to both write and read, so I’m merely nitpicking at a really excellent work. Go and buy it!)

Anyway, so that’s what’s up. I was worried I might die, but it turns out I probably won’t any time soon. I hope you’ll all agree that this is a good thing 😀

PS: World Without End was pretty good, wasn’t it? Nora von Waldstätten, wowee! Although why did they make the Tower of London look nothing like the actual Tower of London?

PPS: It’s too hot today!

Atlantis

I’m trying to blog a bit more often, so you’re all going to have to put up with some real filler material.

Like how last night I dreamt that I was being driven up to Yanchep by a racist to attend a wedding that I really didn’t want to attend. Once at Yanchep however I realised that I could take the opportunity to photograph the old Atlantis Marine Park. Unfortunately I hadn’t bought my camera with me. So I slipped out of the reception and headed down the breakwater to a tourist shop where I paid far too much to purchase a couple of disposables. My plan was to show my face back at the reception then slip out again, but I couldn’t find it!

Please send your analysis and interpretations to wherever the heck you feel like.

Insomniac

Was lying awake at 3:00am this morning completely unable to remember the first verse of Jingle Bells. I have no idea why I needed to remember this in the wee hours of late May, but it was driving me nuts. Second verse, fine. Part of the third verse, also fine. First verse? Complete mental blank. My brain didn’t drag it up until I was brushing my teeth, hours later with fitful sleep at best in between.

Was waiting for the bus across to Morley this morning when someone got out of a car stopped at the lights. Not terribly unusual, except for the fact that they violently hurled the contents of a large takeaway cup at the car behind them, then jumped back in before driving away. Completing this little tableau was the police car (apparently unseen by the perpetrator) waiting at the other side of the intersection, which turned on its lights and casually took of in pursuit. Nice to see a little bit of instant karma.

Last Tango in Halifax ain’t bad is it? If I’d realised Nicola Walker was in it I would have started watching ages back.

Good Teachers/Bad Teachers

The discussion concerning last week’s post about my days back at primary school seems to have affected my brain, as I had another dream about them the other night.

I was back in year six, and working – in class – on an essay about some book. The problem was that I wasn’t myself from year six, I was myself from the modern day thrown back in time, and hence my knowledge of the book in question was very vague, it being over twenty years since I’d actually read it.

On the plus side, I’d managed to bring a copy of my finished essay – which, I’m pleased to report, had got an A – back with me, so all I had to do was copy it out. The teacher however, who was not my actual year 6 teacher Mr Murphy (arguably the best teacher I ever had) but my year 7 teacher Mrs M (arguably the worst teacher I’ve ever had) was patrolling around the classroom and would have spotted me. So I was stuck in the position of shooting furtive glances at the finished document while racking my brain for anything I could remember of the text to write about.

But that wasn’t all. I really didn’t want to be writing the essay at all, because there was a big storm due to hit that night. The Weather Bureau had classed it as a category one cyclone, but with the benefit of hindsight I knew that it was actually going to be a category three, and that the inadequate warning would lead to widespread destruction (including ripping the roof off the school) and over 100 deaths across the city. I was itching to get out and warn people, but instead was stuck trying to write this damned essay, and not get in even more trouble with Mrs M than I habitually was.

It was really rather stressful.

Eventually I got out of class and managed to warn (of all people)  Dr Christopher Green who promised to take care of it.

In the words of Peter Venkman “Hairless pets….. weird”.

I’ve often wondered about why I had such a problem with Mrs M (I’m referring to her pseudonymously both because she might still be teaching and while I can remember how to pronounce her name, I’m damned if I can spell it). There were, I believe, a number of factors, one of the most important of which being that, even at the age of 12, I was much smarter than her.

That sounds unbelievably arrogant, I know, but bear with me.

In all honesty, in terms of just raw processing power, I believe that my brain was a good smack faster than hers. Hell, my brain is a good smack faster than most people’s, but that’s not anything to be particularly proud about – it’s just natural genetic variation. More importantly I was much more knowledgeable about a much wider range of subjects that she was – her general knowledge about the world appeared pretty limited which I feel is a major flaw in any teacher, let alone a primary school one who is the only instructor a bunch of young minds will have for an entire year.

Now, a good teacher, faced with a student who can out-think them and displays a wealth of knowledge, will see an opportunity. This was the case with all the teachers I’d had up to year 7 – especially with Mr Murphy in year 6. I was encouraged to speak up in class, and if I contradicted what the teacher was saying, they’d hear me out. Mrs M on the other hand seemed to view this kind of behavior as a threat to her authority, and a student who kept doing it as a troublemaker.

For example – in year 6 we were set a humerous poem to read about ptarmigans, in which every initial letter ‘t’ was replaced with ‘pt’. Mr Murphy read the poem out to the class, and mentioned that the author had obviously ‘made up’ an animal called a ptarmigan in order to write the poem. I put my hand up and pointed out that this was wrong, and that the ptarmigan was a kind of arctic bird. Mr Murphy asked me how I knew this, and I gave my standard answer that I’d read it in a book we had at home.

Rather than take this correction at face value, he re-stated that he was sure the ptarmigan was fictional, but told me that I had permission to go to the school library and bring him back a book proving the existence of such a creature. So, I left the class, ducked across to the library, grabbed the relevant volume of the encyclopedia, located the entry for ‘ptarmigan’ and brought it back to him.

Rather than be annoyed, Mr Murphy told the class that he was wrong, and that you should never be ashamed to admit such when presented with proof. I took the book back to the library and we got on with analysing the poem.

This kind of thing was pretty standard for my education up until year 7 – in retrospect I was probably rather spoiled by it. With Mrs M however any attempt to contradict  her was met with barely concealed hostility. Her attitude appeared to be one of “I am the teacher, you are the student, I know all, you know nothing”, and thus any student who tried to correct her was being willfully disruptive and should be punished.

It also didn’t help that she was very religious. I was also very religious – I remained so well into my teenaged years – but I followed a very free-wheeling, easy-going, inclusive version of Catholicism, whereas Mrs M seemed to advocate a straight down the line, exactly what the Pope says version. A student from the year above us for instance was praised often and effusively for not only shaking hands with the Pope during his visit in 1986, but for throwing a tantrum in the local video shop when they stocked The Last Temptation of Christ. She was also a believer in the most unlikely of signs and miracles – the year before I had her she’d gone on a pilgrimage to Međugorje and repeatedly claimed that a photo she’d taken of the hill where the BVM allegedly appeared showed a mysterious glow (she kept promising to bring the photo in to show us, but never did). When a TV current affairs show filled in a slow news day with a piece about peoples’ cheap rosary bead sets turning to gold, she came in the next day claiming that her set had undergone the same transformation – but insisted we not tell anyone lest they think she was crazy. I wasn’t shy about sharing my religious opinions, and the difference between our views appeared to make her regard me as not just a troublemaker, but as a potential victim of diabolical obsession.

So, this combination of a smart, previously-indulged, autistic kid and an authoritative, not-quite-as-smart-as-she-ideally-should-have-been teacher resulted in a rather unpleasant and traumatic year of schooling. The stress of the situation led to my developing migraine headaches, which I still occasionally suffer from. My previously spotless academic and behavioral record started to show blemishes – although the fact that the rest of the staff regarded me as a fantastic student (and, I suspect, Mrs M as a bit of a nut) prevented any consequences of this outside of her classroom. I still managed to graduate as second in the year and happily moved on to high school, where a whole new round of traumatic experiences awaited…

I Dream of Nikki

Dreams are weird.

Back in primary school, in year seven, I sat next to a girl named Nicole Mooney. I couldn’t say that we were actually friends, but, as I recall it, we got on fairly well – or at least as well as a 12 year old boy and girl actually can. We had a little routine we’d engage in, in which she’d claim that I’d drive a Saint to sin, and I’d claim that she’d drive a man to drink. We’d sit there muttering “Saint to sin!”, “Man to drink!” back and forth to each other until the teacher yelled at us to shut up.

At the end of the year we left primary school and moved on to the different high schools. I’ve haven’t seen her, or even heard tell of her since.

But here’s the weird thing – I often dream about her.

Not, I hasten to add, in any creepy kind of way – she just has a habit of turning up as a bit player in whatever nonsensical carryings on are going on in my sleeping brain. Often she’ll be accompanied by a mixed cast of people I knew in high school, but she’s the only person there from primary school. Weird.

I have no idea what, if anything, this means. Logic tells me dream-version-Nicole is nothing but a glitching neuron buried deep in my cerebral cortex. But every time I wake up with her in my head I can’t help but wonder what she’s doing these days, and if she ever dreams about me.

Time to buy a lottery ticket!

Wish that dream about Kelly Clarkson would come true…

Dreamt that I was caught in an earthquake last night. Woke up to discover there’d been one in Melbourne.

I’ve obviously become psychic!

(Now if only that dream about Kelly Clarkson would come true…)

A Played Out Picture Show

There’s nothing more boring than reading about other people’s dreams.

As is fairly normal when sleeping I had a dream last night. It was the usual incoherent mess that my dreams generally are, involving a 25th birthday party, cows, a storm, a magic book, people possessed by the spirits of ancient wizards and several episodes of Doctor Who. But it also featured a song.

In context of the dream it was by Sparklehorse, but on waking with it still in my memory it sounded a lot more like Everclear. I was able to remember one verse of it, which goes as follows…

Is it a forest in a wood? A burnt out bedroom mansion?
Is it a played out picture show? Is it a happy ending?

I have no idea what that could possibly mean, but it’s easily as good as anything Nik Kershaw ever wrote 😉