the passenger seat


no such thing?

The movie Donnie Darko has been sitting on my hard drive for a while but for some reason, even though I have been meaning to, have never been in the mood to watch it. Well, tonight I finally did and it blew me away. It’s a psychological thriller that mixes in ideas of time travel and alternate dimensions, and while this may seem weird or cheesy or… actually, weird is the operative word. But weird in a good way. In comparison to the last psychological thriller I watched, The Shining, this one didn’t have moments that left me scratching my head and thinking ‘what the hell just happened and why?’ or an ending that made me ask ‘what was the point of all of that?’ Rather, the movie progressed well and made me want more and the ending was surprisingly cathartic, albeit with some questions still to be answered. Of course, I carried out the mandatory check of the movie’s Wikipedia page that has become so common following puzzling films, and to my surprise the answers were all there, by none other than the director himself, a rarity with films of this genre. The film did have its scary moments – those jolting, ‘jump off your seat’ events that are a hallmark of the horror and thriller genre – but these images were repeated and eventually became understood as integral to the story. Unlike the continued appearance of the twins in The Shining (for the few that have watched it) that, to me, were seemingly used only for shock value (until I read the Wiki), the periodic appearance of the frightening image of ‘Frank’ in this movie soon became exciting rather than shocking. Overall, I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re a fan of thrillers or psychological films and you haven’t watched it, it should be the next movie on your ‘to watch’ list. Even if you can only handle slight horror, this movie shouldn’t be too frightening. And anyway, the catharsis is enough to assuage all fears at the conclusion of the film.

A weird coincidence that happened while watching this film was when Milo pointed me to an image post on his blog about ‘lucid dreaming’ and how to achieve it. Donnie Darko was based around ideas of alternate dimensions and ‘lucid dreaming’ can have the effect of the dreamer experiencing an out-of-body experience or the illusion that they are in an alternate dimension. In a nutshell, a ‘lucid dream’ is one where the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming and is able to manipulate or control the dream. This prompted me to think about my own dreaming experiences and in fact most of the dreams I have (or can remember) are lucid to an extent (read about one of these two posts down). After reading the Wikipedia page on the topic, I think I will definitely try this technique one day soon and see where I can go with it. I already know that I am able to lucidly dream (as many people are), so it shouldn’t be too hard I hope. It should be fun, and I’ll be sure to recount my experiences here.

How fascinating are dreams and how awe-some (and I mean that in the literal definition of the word, not the colloquial sense) is the human brain? The fact that our brain is able to subconsciously conjure up such imagery is amazing. What the hell goes on in there that allows this to happen? Why hello there, all you Psychology students.

One thing that occurred to me when investigating lucid dreaming was the thought experiments carried out by Einstein to test his theory of special relativity (which we learnt in HSC Physics last year). Could lucid dreaming be used as a method to discard certain rules of materiality while maintaining physical laws (though part of the point and fun of lucid dreaming is the fact that physical laws need not exist) to test these theories or to come up with new ones? Food for thought…

And on that very philosophical note, I will end this blog here. To anyone who I haven’t seen in a while or don’t see/talk to regularly (which, sadly, is a lot of people), I hope you’re all doing well, and to everyone else, as always, take care.



walking on a dream

I had the weirdest dream yesterday. It’s probably only the second long dream I’ve remembered recently. A couple of months ago I had a really vivid and long four-part dream involving Transformers, but I might recount that another day.

Anyway, the only dreams I’ve ever remembered are just like SY said in her recent blog (which prompted me to write about this dream): “I find that when you fall back asleep after being awoken by an alarm, you remember your dreams more easily..”

I’m really paranoid about missing things (or school back in the day) because I’ve woken up late, and so I use both my phone and an alarm clock. I started this system because there was a period of time where I got so used to my alarm clock that I was able to subconsciously reach behind me to turn it off while still in a sort of half-sleep, hence missing it and waking up late. So, I began to use two alarms where I would set my alarm clock 10 minutes after my phone alarm just in case. But then I got into the habit of using the time in between alarms to sleep some more (and those extra 10 minutes actually made me feel more awake when I woke up for real), and this is when I would often have dreams that I could remember.

However, yesterday was a different situation. After waking up early to go to Sydney Markets for some pre-Chinese New Year shopping, I came home wasted and found myself dropping off while on the computer. So I decided to have a nap, and that is when my dream unfolded…

The italic parts are what happened in the dream and the non-italics are things that happened in real life.

I walk into a store (not in a mall or shopping centre, but on the street) and it seems to be a weird hybrid shop that sells everything from guitars to boardgames. I spot a nice classical guitar with the price tag over $1,000 and I remember that I need to find one to buy for my brother’s birthday (my mum had a guitar that as a present the other day). The price tag is obviously too high so I go to the store assistant (a guy about our age) to ask him if there are any cheaper ones. But then a 60-70 year old man walks in and he is joined by two of his friends and they start chatting VERY loudly right next to the assistant and I. I go ahead and ask my question anyway, but the guy mishears me and starts telling me the days and hours that he works at the store, as if I am enquiring for a job (I have been trying to find a job recently). Soon the men stop talking but the guy is still going on about the job details, so I stop him and tell him what I really meant to ask. But he gets pissed and starts mouthing off about how he wasted his time explaining all the other stuff to me and that is when the manager comes over and sees what is happening. So I figure this is a good time to leave the store and as I walk out I see the assistant getting told off by the manager.

For some reason I decide to go back into the store soon after, and I go to the back where there is a desk with a computer on it, so I go to sit there (without using the computer). I stay there for a while but then decide to go outside again to check where the rest of my family is. I see them going into another store not far away so I go back inside and start using the computer (for what, I don’t know). After a while I decide to leave again but as I look through the store’s windows from the outside I realise I have left my phone and wallet on the desk.

So I go back inside to pick them up but the store has somehow turned into a library. As I walk past the desks I see people that I recognise (the only people that I remember seeing are Grubsy and Swami) but they don’t seem to notice or recognise me. I go outside and see my family walking into another store and so I follow them in, and it turns out that it is some sort of mall with a high ceiling. My family walks into Sanity (no idea why it would be that store in particular) and I walk ahead, coming across a staircase; the kind that spirals down in a square to get to a car park. As I walk down I pass a bunch of random people before meeting Janet at the bottom. She is wearing a black leather jacket (I think this was from seeing James’ new jacket).

We go out the door at the bottom of the staircase and we emerge into a large open-air car park. But somehow it is now night time and all the cars are lit up from underneath, some with their headlights on. Seeing Janet’s jacket and the weird light, I am reminded of the video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (I think my actual self thought of this and it became manifested in the dream). And so I make a joke, singing a line from that song out loud: “‘Cause this is Thriller, Thriller night”.

But then I look to my right and I see a big, flat-topped hill that has a really big blocky building sitting atop it, not unlike prison buildings. The buildings are all lit up with a sickly yellow light. Suddenly I hear some weird noises coming from the buildings and then the shrieking scream of a woman.

Then I see a woman with long dark hair and a white hospital gown running out of one of the buildings, presumably the same woman that screamed, and she is followed by a horde of other men and women dressed similarly, all running out of the buildings down the hill towards the car park while making lots of noise. It is then that I come to the realisation that the buildings are those of a mental asylum.

At this point we are both freaked out, so Janet and I rush towards the door we came out of but a hand reaches from inside and closes it. With the people still running down the hill we approach the door but it is locked and we are unable to get in.

Then I woke up.

The weird thing is, I’m pretty sure I was only half-asleep during the dream. I had parts where I would kind of wake up but I’d drop off again soon after and the dream would continue. Also, I found that I could actually somewhat control my dream. It was like my actual self knew that it was a dream and at parts I think I actually watched my dream self from a different viewpoint. When my actual self thought about something it seemed to immediately happen in the dream; like in that part about “Thriller”.

Another weird thing that happened is that I remember at times dreaming that I was asleep. This may have just been me waking up in a semi-conscious state, but when I tried to move my mind was telling me that I was moving but I found myself still in the same position after.

Is it normal for dreams to be remembered only when they are had in those light stages of sleep? Does this happen to anyone else? And has anyone else ever had any sort of control over their dreams as I had?

I’d love to hear your dream experiences, so leave them in the comments. But until next time, take care.



fade into the background

I haven’t blogged in an age. This has mainly been because nothing really great has happened since I last wrote. Probably the only things worth mentioning was Thursday’s Year 11 vs. 12 Basketball game and Friday’s Final Prefect Assembly.

The 11 vs. 12 game went okay, I thought. There was some speculation as to whether it would be on or not, but luckily the rain held out enough for it to be just playable at lunch time, albeit after quite a bit of sweeping. So the game was on and a good amount of people came down to watch, which was good. The year 11s all rocked up in their NBA jerseys, while most of our players were in full school uniform. To play the game was a bit tricky, since the ball quickly got wet and slipped out of our hands many a time, and the wet ground made it difficult to move around quickly without fear of slipping. I think we all played well considering the conditions, and the year 11s weren’t bad either, but despite our lack of preparation in terms of clothing, we still emerged, quite convincingly, as the victors (pardon the pun). All in all it was a pretty fun game, and it was good since most of us haven’t played a proper full-court game for a long time (although I have Hills).

So Friday was the last day of school and the Prefects’ Final Assembly. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t that great, but there were some good parts. I liked the “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” dances, and Grubsy’s “I Want You Back” was great as always. I know he doesn’t read this, but apologies to Grubsy for not playing bass for that song. Chris was much better at it than me, anyway. Otherwise, the quizzes and games were kind of awkward in my opinion, but it was okay.

My parents and brother are still away in their respective overseas countries. For the past week it’s just been me and Tasha; she’s sleeping on my bed right now. I spoke to my parents today and they told me they’d visited the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, both of which were apparently amazing. I’m so jealous, and I can’t wait to see the photos. Speaking of photos, I asked my dad about the camera I’ve been wanting, and he said “when we get back”. Good sign. Anyway, my parents told me that my brother sent them a text saying that he had successfully made it to the top of Mt. Kinabalu (the tallest mountain in Malaysia), which was the main part of his tour to Sabah, Malaysia. The summit of the mountain is 4,095m above sea level, and they did in in two days. I’ve heard of many past students failing to reach the top and having to return to the rest house halfway up the mountain due to the tough atmospheric conditions (low oxygen, low pressure), so it’s pretty awesome that he made it all the way up.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say about life, since nothing happens anymore. I realise that I say that a lot nowadays, that “nothing happens”. I guess it’s true, to an extent, that year 12 does lose the fun of year 11 and our junior years. Everyone is so concentrated on studying that there really isn’t time for anything else. Yes, I know I’m basically repeating what everyone is thinking and has been saying, but it’s so true, and I’ve really come to realise that now. Last holidays I went out quite a bit, so I didn’t really feel it, but I have a feeling most of these holidays will be spent at home, with books for company. Great.

But, digressing, in the past few days I’ve just been procrastinating and making the most of my nights before I have to start studying for trials. And so I’ve found a number of interesting things during my travels. I haven’t posted stuff like this in a long time, and I won’t be saying much about any of them.

Remember those light trails that I posted a few blogs ago? Well these, from an album entitled Fun with Long Exposure, totally blow ours out of the water. More photos and larger images at Icon_ology.

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light6

Does anyone remember that crazy stop motion video with the wolf and the pig? To refresh your memory or if you haven’t seen it, go here. Well, Olympus has made a similar video to promote their “PEN” Camera. Go to the Olympus website, or watch “The PEN Story” below.

I thought this ad was pretty clever; it speaks for itself.

phone

You know those videos/movies of marriage proposals where the guy proposes at a sporting event or over the PA somewhere or at a fancy restaurant with a little band playing? Well how about this one, in the middle of Disneyland’s Main Street. I thought it was great.

And lastly, is this video, entitled “Kittens Inspired by Kittens”. I don’t know why, but it made me smile and laugh.

Anyway, that’s all folks. Don’t study too hard these holidays; have at least a bit of fun.



off the wall

So it’s the end of the weekend, and tomorrow is school again. But that’s okay, because I’ve had a pretty busy weekend…

So yesterday was first aid. It was actually a really fun and interesting course; the instructor/teacher was really cool and it was fun to play with the CPR manikins and with the bandages. I won’t dwell on it too much, since I don’t really remember much about it and many of you were there anyway.

Anyway, right now I’m really tired after a day out at Parramatta. Our objective for going out today was to shop for supplies for tomorrow’s muck up photos. Me and James are being piranha plants from the Super Mario series, and I’ve just been informed that Anthony may be Mario for us. Our plan is to get some cardboard boxes and make them into the tube and head for the plant.

So this morning I met James and we set out to look for spray paints, since this would be the easiest and quickest way to paint. Douglas and Bryan soon showed up and we went around the shopping centre. Douglas was looking for a white shirt for his zombie plans. We ended up going to Kmart at one point to look for supplies, and while walking towards the hardware area James noticed Bryan lagging behind a bit. So we all started running and got out of Bryan’s sight. He had no clue. We ran out of Kmart and proceeded to other shops, including Lowes for Douglas’ shirt and Foot Locker, before Bryan called James 20 minutes later. We decided to mess with him a little more, so we told him we were still in Kmart and would be done in 10 minutes. We headed back to Kmart 10 minutes later to find him outside the store, waiting for us. It was lols.

After that we met Simon and went to eat, then went to browse a bit in JB Hi-Fi. While there, I picked up a few things:
2 CD Set: Off The Wall and Thriller – Michael Jackson
O – Damien Rice
The Swell Season – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

off-the-wall

thriller

o

theswellseason

After that we headed to the cinemas to catch Terminator Salvation. It was okay I thought. A lot of action, giant robots, crazy terminators, and even naked Arnold Schwarzenegger as a mean terminator. i can’t really remember much more, and I guess that reflects on the quality of the film. Still good though.

terminator

We didn’t actually end up getting any supplies. We decided to just wing it tomorrow. Cardboard boxes will be obtained from the huge recycling bin at school and the paints will be from the VA room.

Anyway I think that is all I have to say today. I apologise if this blog isn’t very coherent or in a boring tone, but I’m so tired right now.

I’ll see you all tomorrow.



thriller

Well, first off…

R.I.P. Michael Joseph Jackson
29/08/1958 – 25/06/2009

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This morning I hopped into John’s car, where he had his MP3 player input for the car stereo and told me to hook up my iPod. So I proceeded to do so, and put on some music but then Thashan said “Put on some Michael Jackson, he’s dead.” Being the joker I know he is and combined with the fact that I hadn’t seen the TV or heard the radio before I’d left, I didn’t believe him, but then he said “He died of a heart attack this morning”. Then I realised he was serious, and John confirmed that, and I just sat there in shock for a moment. I’ve been a fan of his music and respected him as the King Of Pop that he is, and I was actually very saddened to hear that he had passed away. We then listened to his music for the rest of the car trip, and then when we arrived at Parramatta Westfield his music was playing in quite a few stores; Foot Locker was playing a concert of his on their screens. We went to JB HI-FI for a while after the movie, and there was not a single Michael Jackson album left in the store. On the bus home, I watched part of his concert (“Billie Jean” at his 30th Anniversary Concert in 2001) on my iPod and then listened to more of his music. At least his music still lives on. Then I came home and saw all the reports on the news. Speaking of which, everyone needs to watch the tribute show tonight at 10pm on Channel Ten.

Anyway, so the reason I went to Parramatta today was to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

transformers

Basically, the movie was just humungous robots fighting and Megan Fox. It really catered for fans of Megan Fox, and so I think all of us there (James, Bryan, Deva, John, Bobby, Doug, Thashan, Kris and I) weren’t disappointed with that aspect. There were some very unnecessary scenes with Megan Fox in them, but they were good. In terms of plot, there wasn’t really much to it, but it’s not like anyone was really expecting an awesome storyline anyway. In my opinion there was just a bit too much action. It was a two and a half hour film, and pretty much the last one and a half of those hours was guns and explosions and massive metal robots battling it out. Overall, it was still a good movie and I did enjoy it. Oh, also, Isabel Lucas’ part in the movie is wack. And, I wore my Transformers belt to watch the movie.

Another part of today was playing with James’ camera, a Nikon D60 DSLR. To say the least , it was mad fun, and it’s made me want a camera even more now. I spent a lot of time messing around and taking pictures of everyone and random things and it was so much fun. Also, we had a look at the Nikon D5000 in some stores, and seeing it in real life also added to my increased want for one. Anyway, there’s not really much else to say about that, so I’ll let the pictures speak for thimselves. These were all taken by me on James’ camera. For more photos and James’ own photography, kindly direct yourselves to his blog, entitled re:discover. He’s got some really good stuff there and I’m jealous.

Most of the following photos have been touched up a little. The ones with people in them are mainly just white balance/contrast/lighting fixes, but most are true to the original. The ones that don’t include people (shoes, lights) have had a little more done to them as I’m sure you’ll notice.

These first few were taken when we first arrived at the station, waiting for other people to arrive.

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3kris

4bobby

Deva’s reaction to Michael Jackson’s death:

5deva

The next few were taken while eating at the food court before the movie.

6bryan

Mmm, Maccas. It’s okay, I didn’t eat before the movie so there were no grubby hands on the camera.

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No points for guessing the title of tonight’s blog.

PS. Leeanne has a blog! Time-Turning @ WordPress.