Sunday, September 13, 2009


The only times I ever really doubt my sanity is when I'm on the verge of sleep. It's been a pretty common phenomenon for me to experience Hypnogogic hallucinations when I am falling asleep, and in the past year, they've increased in frequency.

Because of this, I tend to hear and "see" things that aren't there quite often. (I say "see" because my eyes are always closed, but I visualize them so vividly sometimes that I'm surprised when I have to open my eyes when I wake up.) For instance, I had a few hallucinations at work once, and I thought that inmates were escaping and creeping up on me to attack me. Then I woke up and realized I was hearing the clock ticking above me and it altered my perception.

Well, lately, I've been feeling things as I'm going to bed for the night, or getting up for the day. Yesterday morning I thought I spilled a jar of peanut butter on my shirt, and I was concerned with how to clean it off and if I could salvage any of it. I could really feel it on me though, that greasy peanut texture. I could smell and taste it. I woke up and realized I was just lying in bed. Then I started falling asleep and started hallucinating about peeing in the toilet and I woke up, afraid I might wet the bed (I didn't, by the way. Never once wet the bed, somehow.). Then I hallucinated again about holding an apple in my hand. All just as vivid as the last.

I rarely remember my hallucinations, but the past couple of days have been so frequent and disturbing that I've started wondering where the line is drawn between my conscious recollections and my unconscious wanderings. Again. I wondered a few months ago while I was dealing with the irritability associated with excessive sleepiness. You know, who am I if I am two different people depending on how tired I am.

The brain functions on many levels, and there are many levels that coexist psychologically as well. I'm wondering who I am at the core, beyond the irritable and lazy instinctual side of me, and beneath the complicated but confident exterior that functions from day to day.

Or do we even have a steady core at all? I'm reminded of the one and only book on cognitive psychology that I've ever read, "The Mind's I" that talks about such topics. Do we have a core that's just clouded by our minds, or are we the sum of our many layers?

Am I a brain? or, do I have a brain? If I were a book, would I be any single page? Any single explicit theme? Would I be the cover? Or would I be a chapter? Or a whole book?

Am I an eyeball? A brainstem? A collection of organs? A torso? A machine? A cluster of nerve endings?

It's all gray area for me right now. There is nothing solid to hold on to, yet at the same time, this nagging voice inside says it knows exactly who it is. This voice describes me more like a powerful computer, that just happens to have an old analogue monitor that takes a few minutes to warm up. Before it gets warmed up, it can only display a few colors, but once it's primed and ready to go, it has a great resolution and contrast ratio.

Did I just turn into a total nerd?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Battery acid + baking soda = foamy goodness

My car broke down. I thought it was the ignition switch because of the finicky way it was acting and how the power was cutting in and out as I turned the key, but I found out today that it was just the battery terminals being corroded.

Surprisingly, there wasn't as much corrosion on the terminals as there was a month ago when I cleaned them, but I guess it built up inbetween the battery posts and the cable clamps where it didn't look serious. So I poured some baking soda water on there and watched it fizz and bubble, then I scraped them down with a wire brush and now I have a running vehicle again!

A running vehicle with expired plates...

In other news, dinner is about ready. Spaghetti with clam sauce and garlic bread.