The last month or so has been pretty relaxing. First, I visited home for my sister’s graduation and Mother’s Day, and then I went to Caltech for Ditch Day and hung out there for another week after that. Since then, I’ve remained pretty relaxed, and allowed myself to sleep in quite a bit. As a result, I’ve started dreaming more.
Well, you never know how much you actually dream, but I guess what I’ve noticed is twofold: First, I wake up remembering my dream more frequently and vividly, and secondly, I seem to have a little more consciousness these days while I’m dreaming. Some dreams have even stuck around for hours or even a couple days in my memory, which usually doesn’t happen.
I’m not really in control, though, because my brain seems to find ways to explain what’s going on that seem surprising to me while I’m dreaming. For instance, in the first dream, I was at home in Colorado, and noticed that there were cats and dogs in our house that weren’t quite our pets. One of them even looked like Smidgen, our first cat, who was older than me and died while I was in high school! Eventually, though, we realized this and it all clicked when I looked out the front door, where herds of these pets had escaped from our neighbor’s house. I started trying to help them regather all of the cats, dogs, and birds, and keep any more from coming into our house, and that’s about when the dream ended.
I guess I find this interesting from the perspective of how my brain comes up with its dreams. In the dream, my brain seems to have put those herds of animals outside our door as an explanation for what I had already seen. But at the same time, I remember being surprised to see it, which means that some other part of my brain was experiencing the phenomena that the first part was cooking up as explanations. It would have been especially intriguing if our neighbors in real life had actually kept a lot of pets, in which case this would have been more than just one step of logic away, but I don’t know of any records of that.
Besides sleeping in, I think the other contributing factor to how much I dream is that I have two beds. Well, I have a bed and a futon that I usually keep as a bed (rather than a couch), complete with a comforter and pillow. If I wake up in the night and can’t fall immediately back asleep, I’ll often switch beds to more easily fall back asleep. This can lead to me having one dream that I remember in one bed and another in the other bed.
For instance, after dreaming of the hoards of pets coming into our house last night, I had another vivid dream involving getting on an airplane. Only this time, instead of sitting in our regular seats, I was among a group of people given permission to sit in the cargo hold, which mostly had beds rather than seats. I was surprised at the laxness they exhibited, especially when trying to account for which people had gone down there, they just counted us and let us all in.
Anyways, I hope this post has been more than just me recounting a couple dreams I had last night. How vividly do you remember your dreams, half a day later? Does your brain ever surprise you with some connection, or does everything seem to be written as you’re going along?
What’s Going On
Wow, it’s been seven weeks since I last wrote a blog entry. I honestly don’t have a ton to say about those weeks, besides that my vacation was the best one I’ve had so far. I don’t anticipate wanting any expensive resorts any time soon; I’d rather just travel to see friends and family like that.
Some of that time went to writing other things. Since my last post, I’ve also written two of my top three Quora answers of all time: A strategy guide to Threes! and a motley compilation of various lifehacks I’ve discovered. Check them out!
As for prayer requests, it’s been an uphill battle to get into a regular research schedule, or even for that matter to have anything going in research to get excited about. In math, finding the right problem to work on is often the trickiest step. At some point, I’ll write about my current efforts and difficulties in that area. For now, here’s a chart I’ve started keeping next to my desk:
The markers read, from top to bottom, Social, Food, Tasks/E-mails, Teaching/Grading, and Work (i.e. research). Unfortunately, there’s nothing currently in the upper left quadrant, which is where I want to be. In terms of this graph, you can pray that in particular my work moves upwards. In the meantime, I’ve been devoting plenty of time to social and food (and exercise, which isn’t one of the markers yet), which is why they aren’t as urgent right now.