2014 :: 2013
2012 :: 2011 :: 2010 :: 2009
2008 :: 2007 :: 2006 :: 2005
2004 :: 2003 :: 2002 :: 2001



I had this awful nightmare before I woke up. It didn't start out as a nightmare, just an odd dream—from what little I remember of it, I was at some younger girl's house doing something and taking things from them, and I had this bike that was supposed to have been motor-powered, but it turned out that it wasn't. I'd had it for about two years under the impression that it was motorized, but really it'd been my own legwork that whole time...

After that, I was disappointed because I couldn't hang out with this guy again, as he had flying class. I was walking near the building on campus where the military stuff was and I saw someone I thought was him fly overhead, turn, hover a second with the cockpit facing me, then fly on in to land behind or on top of the building somewhere. I decided for some reason to go into the building, and as I entered I saw this class of cadets or students training in this cool combat simulation, in this dark room with a couple of laser guns. I suppose it was really just like laser tag, except that apparently they were really blasting students to the moon so they could do this combat simulation under real conditions there. It still took place in this black set of tunnels and rooms, just on the actual moon.

I got the impression that it was a first exercise of sorts for this class, so I decided to ask one of the T-shirted instructors whether I could procure a laser gun or two, i.e. the "proper equipment", as I put it when speaking to them, saying that I'd just arrived late and hadn't gotten my equipment for the game yet. I suppose it was like Battle School in the Ender's series, albeit with people of college age. They looked at me skeptically, then just shook their heads and started getting me stuff. They piled things into my arms—a small white blanket, a bright green pillow, a coil of black cable or wire, a bunch of black plastic items—and I protested that I didn't really need all this stuff, I just needed a laser gun so I could catch up and go with the last group out to train in the moon lab. One of the other instructors who was piling stuff into my arms replied, "Yeah, well, we want to just get it all out of the way now, you shouldn't really even get all this until the ceremony, but..." and trailed off, implying either that since I wasn't part of the class, I shouldn't be getting it anyway, and they knew it, or that they'd simply been giving everyone stuff before the ceremony anyway, or that I'd missed the ceremony and would have to be in one of my own later.

I took all that and set most of it aside, asking one of the instructors still standing around to help me out, show me the ropes, so to speak, as far as working the laser guns was concerned. The instructor seemed friendly enough, though somewhat puzzled by why I hadn't learned this yet—I think he figured I was just behind in the class. So he turned on the machine that provided power for the guns through a little attached cable. (In the space combat situation, that power was provided by clip-on boxes that people slipped into their pockets backwards like cellphones, with the clip sticking out over the top of the pocket.) I messed with the laser wand that was attached to the machine, trying to figure out what the various buttons marked, in grey on black, "M," "U," and various other letter and number combinations actually did. I managed to create a constellation of dots like light shined through a colander, only in red, and eventually produced a fine-tuned dot of red. I thought it was counterproductive, looking at some of the things other students were using, to have a red dot that blinked really fast on one's own face as one looked through the sight, seeing as that would make me quite visible to others... I glanced at the computer monitor next to the area's console, which had a lot of blue, green, and white on it and something about the Girl Scouts. I get it, I thought, it was some joint project between the military and the Girl Scouts.

After that I kind of gave up, figuring I'd just make it up as I went along in combat, just pushing random buttons on my gun like I do in video games I haven't read the instructions for...I glanced at the other kind of laser, hooked to an identical machine (these machines were about the size of old-time arcade game consoles, rather tall, black, and hulking—they provided a lot more power, continuous power, to the lasers compared to the little clip-on power packs we'd use in combat practice) next to the first one, that shined with a white little beam, which ostensibly was a good bit more cutting and powerful. When I'd walked into the place at first and seen all these students swarming around doing various training things, I'd watched some guy hit another guy with one of those in an ankle, and he crumpled to the ground, with others looking on approvingly. I didn't touch that, though, figuring I'd have enough trouble just getting through that combat situation, if they even let me do the combat situation, without having had the training the rest of them obviously did. I felt out of the loop, though I knew most of these people went here, to WU, so I figured I knew at least some of them, and they didn't seem unfriendly. I figured I couldn't be that behind, since it wasn't much past the beginning of the semester.

Then, though, as I looked through my laundry basket of supplies, I couldn't even find my gun; apparently they'd grabbed one off of a surplus shelf and it didn't look like the other people's sleek laser wand guns, it was actually shaped like a gun, I found when I eventually dug it out, and had odd little labels on the side. I was sitting there, despairing, when my roommate and a friend of hers came up and looked at me sitting there between surplus materials shelves on the ground, desperately digging through the pile of black plastic crap the instructors had shoved at me, and just started heaping scorn on my head, saying I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing, I wasn't good enough to be there, where did I get off trying to get into the program without even having had the training, they'd trained for however long to get there, and did I even care about that? At that point I was crying, frustrated, and just yelled at them, saying, No, I wasn't sure I wanted to keep doing it, I wasn't trying to do anything wrong, it just looked like a lot of fun and I wanted to try it, since she and others I knew were involved with it, and that I knew I was behind, but that it'd be hella nice if they'd just forgive me that and let me actually get on with what I was trying to do. I couldn't help it that they'd given me this huge basket full of identical-looking things...

That was right about when the phone rang in real life. No one picked it up after two rings, so I grabbed it, only to have whoever it was hang up. Then I settled back into bed to try and imprint this dream on my mind, going back over what'd happened, and the phone rang again...

- - -
"But the girl in the car at the parking lot says, 'Man, you should try to take a shot'—can't you see my walls are crumblin'...?"
—Counting Crows, "Round Here"

4:09 pm, October 11, 2003 :: the jablog years

You should follow me on Twitter.