Saturday, December 30, 2006

One weird thing

You've probably seen that meme that has a person list six weird things about themselves. I am stuck for a blogging topic, but too lazy to be arsed with six things, so I've come up with one.

Of course, the question of what falls under the category of "weird" is a bit of a trick. I speak Welsh, I think medieval fayres are awesome, and I follow EastEnders so religiously that I refer to characters as if I know them personally (I am about two dead brain cells away from writing them letters of advice on how to solve their problems: "Stacey, you know that nothing good will come of this thing with Max!"). So, I'm not 100% sure* I'm qualified to judge "weird."

Perhaps that I am so taken with iTunes (a half decade after everyone else) is a bit odd. But for the most part, I don't tend to think that things I do or think are all that weird -- probably because I am the person doing and thinking those things. It's a bit like Catch 22; people who are crazy don't know they are crazy. If they think they are crazy, it's almost certainly a sign that they are not.

So, the fact that I don't tend to think of myself as not weird may be a sign that I am, in fact, very weird. Most likely, though, this is wishful thinking. More likely, I am one of the most boring people on Earth.

In terms of what other people might think is weird, I am either so boring or people are so used to my quirks, that I ceased surprising people years ago. I could list just about any odd thing and people who are close to me would think: "Yeah, sure -- that's not all that weird coming from him."

So, here's my totally un-weird weird thing about me:

I have a science-fiction TV series in my head.

It's about a border-line suicidal space fighter pilot. Because of the accessible nature of electronic information, his branch of the military (which would have to have a cooler name than the usually lame "Space Force" or "Space Marines," but I haven't thought up the name yet. Most likely it would be an acronym) starts putting important information on paper again (written in Sioux). The fighter pilot -- nicknamed "Witke," Sioux for "crazy" -- is given the job of hurtling unescorted (so as to not draw attention) across vast, cold, dangerous stretches of space, delivering various ultra-important messages.

Recognizing that he is already more than a bit psycho (he gets this assignment after being pulled as a squadron leader, having led his group into one too many mismatched fire fights), the yet-to-be-named military branch he works for fits his ship with a beta-version navigational/operating system that is designed to develop a personality of its own. The idea is to give him company on the long, cold (to preserve power and to help avoid detection, most of the time his ship does little more than circulate oxygen, so he's almost always weighed down by cold-weather gear [hence the connection to Heather's kittyhead hat]).

The system learns at an immense rate, so it tends to know everything that can be known, or can learn it in a pinch by gathering information from the future incarnation of the Internet. It is also designed to make itself as compatible and personable as possible to the user, so in short order it develops a female voice (probably with an accent) and Witke names it after some girl he had a crush on as a cadet before she was killed by some habitually-evil alien race that have been warring with Earth for 100 years.

Partially because his mood is erratic, and partially because the software recognises Witke actually enjoys arguing, the two have long, bantering philosophical/humorous conversations as they hurtle through space. They are occasionally interrupted by the need to blow stuff up or narrowly escape certain doom or save the universe. You know how it goes.

Needless to say, this culminates in all sorts of philosophical questions about the nature of reality as Witke "falls in love" with his ship's navigational/operating system, and vice versa. Neither will admit this fact.

At about the same time as this man-software love that dare not speak its name is coming to fruition, the military branch with a cool acronym name decides through other tests that the software -- hard-programmed to be so accommodating and protective of the user -- is a bad idea all around. They order it removed from Witke's ship and all existing versions of the software are deleted.

That's the end of season 1.

The second season starts with Witke in the bar, receiving the equivalent of a text message. The message contains a backup file to his ship's navigational/operating system -- it was sent by his ship, and had been bouncing around the corners of space, making it impossible to trace.

And it goes on from there, with all kinds of possibilities:
- The ship becomes too reckless in actions, because it can always provide a backup of itself, and almost kills Witke.
- An evil-twin version shows up, based on a corrupted version of the file that was bounced around space
- The ship starts to project a hologram of an attractive woman, so it messes with Witke's head even more.
- Through either Star Trek replicator technology or William Gibson microsofts technology, the OS becomes a tangible female form.

*The phrase "100% sure" is there only because I wanted to use the percent sign.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ladies' man

I dreamt last night that I was staying at Eric and Kristin's cabin and playing Kubb in the yard when Kristin drove up in a white early 90s Renault; her passenger was an ex-girlfriend of mine.

She (the ex-girlfriend, not Kristin) had Kool-Aid red hair, so I had to stare at her for a second, but then it registered and there was a rush of excitement as I lifted her up in one of those "Oh, my gosh, I haven't seen you in ages"-type hugs.

It was actually her, not an amalgam of female features attached to a name, as can often happen in dreams. My memory of her was so strong that I could smell her as we hugged. Her smell is scored deep in my memory.

Dr. Handy once told me the technical term for a person who remembers based on his or her senses, but I have since forgotten that term because it was mentioned in an e-mail conversation; I couldn't smell her when she told me.

Either way, sensing that this "Oh, my gosh, I haven't seen you in ages" hug was lasting just a second too long and becoming an "Oh, my gosh, you still smell so good" hug, Eric piped in loudly with a comment about Rachel, putting emphasis on the phrase "your wife."

Not missing a beat, Kristin added that almost every column I write is about how stupid I am for Rachel.

This particular dream featured Sarah McDaniels, but it's one I've had countless times.

The dreams are little morality plays of the subconscious, and they almost always go the same way: I meet some girl I haven't seen in a coon's age and am too patient/accepting/happy to see her than perhaps I should be, and then Eric comes in as the voice of reason*.

It's perhaps an odd thing that Eric features as the metaphorical angel on the shoulder in my dreams. But of all the people I know, he has one of the most defined and clear senses of what is right and wrong. Remember that knowing right from wrong is different than choosing right from wrong. But he is still considerably beyond me. I often fail to identify that things I do are insulting or hurtful or inappropriate. It's probably not coincidence that the people who are closest to me are so thick-skinned.

My subconscious works like a poorly written Victorian novel, so these lessons in fidelity usually end with a sort of karmic reward for good behaviour -- I discover that while I've had seven and a half years of happy marriage, the ex-girlfriend has experienced a slow and steady emotional decline since parting from me.

Of course, the side-effect to these dreams is that I end up spending the next conscious day wondering what has actually happened to the featured ex-love interest. The thoughts bring a deep and wistful melancholy. I can feel it pushing against my ribcage; breathing feels laboured. I'm not totally sure why the feeling is so strong, and what it says about me. Most likely is says I am a big girl.

But it's strange to think that out in the world right now there are all these women, all these souls, who have been close to me, and the odds are quite high that I will never see or hear from them again.

"All these women." That makes it sound as if there are thousands upon thousands of them; as if they could all move to the Aleutians and set up a semi-autonomous state of jaded ex-lovers: The People's Republic of Fuck-Chris-istan. But, you know what I mean -- there are more than three.

They are women who actually liked me -- even if just for a tiny space of time -- enough to be close. They saw me as better than I have ever seen myself. They kissed me. They wanted to hold my hand. And, to varying degrees, I tore myself up over them. It's hard to accept that two people could have existed in such intense moments and emotions and then just sort of fade away and never know if the other is even alive.

I often wonder what happened to this person or that person. So much so that I will work their name into a blog post**, making their names Google searchable for all eternity. I have this stupid quiet hope that these little internet snares will lead to the person e-mailing me. But there's probably a reason I don't know where they are or what they are up to; perhaps they have no interest in hearing from me. I'm hardly a recluse; if Jeni Rodvold were to ever find herself wondering what the hell happened to me it would take less than a second to find out.

*His wife, Kristin, will often serve as a second voice of reason. Both are capable of speaking in the blunt way that is necessary for communicating to me.

**I have mentioned Sarah a few times: here and here.