A music video was playing by recording artist Poe
on the iTunes of my computer. I expressed surprise about it to a girl who was in my room.
me: "I don't understand how this is playing in iTunes, because I don't have the video and have never seen it before...I only have the song. Was the video somehow encoded onto the CD?"
The video was black and white, and had left in a lot of visual elements that would generally be only for editing and recording--viewfinder, timecode, etc. There were white numbers flickering all over the page, and the video was choppy. It reminded me closely of a bizarre video released on iTunes recently by Radiohead for "High and Dry":
It's strange to see a "new" video release in 2008 for a song released in 1995, so that alone caught my attention in terms of questionable chronology. But the oddity of the video
--and the oddity of the 1995 video
--give me pause as well.
The girl pointed angrily at various web browser windows I had open, with the jealous insinuation that I'd been having an affair with someone.
girl: "Who have you been talking to?"
me: (angrily) "No one. And if I was, it's not any of your business anyway. Want to see what this all is, I'll show you!"
I went through the web browser windows one by one. They were mundane things--a page of people trying to do a remake of the video game Adventure Construction Set
, and a couple of heavily animated Flash games. After the windows were closed, I noticed I had an instant message from the user name "encephalon". When I tried to open it, the OS/X dock came off in my hands and I was holding it.
me: "Okay, now I very clearly am dreaming."
I did my best to manipulate the dock in my hand...pressing the icons wouldn't launch any applications. All the windows were too tiny to read, and I had to make gestures indicating what I wanted to have happen. I pinched my fingers like on an iPhone and that managed to get the point across, and eventually I zoomed in on the inbox for e-mail from encephalon (not a chat message). It said something about hoping a company was smart enough to install some kind of cybersecurity product.
Filtering through a few other messages I tried to read them, they were about technical developments in what sounded like a new transistor technology. The screen made my eyes hurt and then I was walking with the girl from the previous argument.
me: "The signs are everywhere, and you're just not paying attention. Instead your mind is in a petty place. You should have given me a bit of credit when the toolbar on the screen fell off in my hands--this stuff needs to be studied!"
girl: "Yeah, well, not everyone's life gets to be an epic. Some of us are just a module."
me: "What? You aren't making sense."
We ended up walking into a house. There was a black man seated inside the door.
black man: "Yeah, she's too quiet."
me: "Oh... I wouldn't say she's quiet. Just not curious enough."
I thought she and I were returning to my bedroom where we had been previously, but when we entered the room there were other people there. I started roaming and saw that the house was filled with people. Some of them resembled celebrities (including Chris Elliot) and others just resembled people I knew.
I encountered a man with a cane standing next to another man wearing a homemade sticker that said "Evolution: embrace your chance"
me: "Ah yes, evolution. Well that's good too, but I thought it said 'revolution'."
sticker guy: "What?"
me: "You know, revolution. Like... a war for a cause."
The sticker guy had some awkward misunderstanding of it and feigned like I'd insulted him, and the cane guy held it up mockingly as if he were going to attack. But they were joking and gave me another chance to explain.
me: "Try thinking of related terms...civil war, for instance."
cane guy: "Yes yes, like the REVOLUTIONARY WAR. You remember. From school?"
sticker guy: "No, hm, no."
me: "Wait, how well are you people here functioning? I mean, do you have solid memories of who you are or were, and what you're doing here? Is this some kind of recovery room, or purgatory, or what?"
A man who seemed to be an authority figure walked by and pointed out to me some art a person was doing. He was working on a bunch of drawings and animations of abstract fish. The stylized art was moving in a frame with no obvious screen.
man: "That fellow used to have some raw artistic talent. But here he has a chance to really refine it. We teach him to start small, with something simple in black and white, and then he goes through iterations until it makes something very impressive. Take this."
He handed me a white piece of paper with the sketch of a landscape on it, it looked a bit like a mimeograph. As the man walked away I followed him.
me: "I love the idea of your exercise. Refinement is essential."
man: "Absolutely! I'm glad you understand it's important."
me: "And it's very exciting for me to think that, uh, the afterlife or whatever is a place where we further develop what we have previously learned. I've studied graphic design, though usually I use computers to do it."
man: "I'm a graphic designer myself."
me: "Great. Ok, so I'm sure we'd have a lot to talk about on that, but I have some other questions to ask right now. Can we talk?"
man: "Sure, we can talk anytime."
me: "I need you to help by verifying the place I live most of the time. I don't even know where here is, but it's clear you have a reality of some kind. Here's my address."
I started writing my address down on a piece of paper. It became a little bit of a patchwork, it seemed I was working together with a girl who was marking it up with me like a symbolic game. We'd do things like turn 1s into capital i's in order to indicate Roman Numerals.
man: (amused) "There are a lot of people who have imaginary lives in their head."
me: "Well if you're saying the life I have tied to that address is potentially a dissociative reality that exists only in my own head, it's one heck of a doozy. I can't believe it's not threaded in with other universes in any way."
The girl on the floor couldn't find my street, but suggested she'd found a similar location listed as a place where Virginia Woolf had lived. I tried giving a landmark of a local cafe, but at this point I felt an attack. I sort of had to peer around to see where it was coming from. It was a small black child in a green shirt.
me: "Okay kid in green shirt, attacking me. You guys see this? Help!"
me: "Are you going to do anything to stop him?"
crowd: "We're trying!"
I attacked back as hard as I could, and noticed the people in a big swarm around me. A second small black child--this one in a red shirt, came at me with the same attack.
me: "TWO attacks now. Red shirt this time. Green STILL attacking me."
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