2024-06-16: Dream

It is such a cliche to make entries about dreams and the like, but I have not been able to remember a dream this vivid several years and thought it would be interesting to record. They used to be much more surreal and varied in tone when I was younger, but they all now follow similar themes of being isolated in locations where unknown apocalyptic events have transpired. In some I voluntarily hide within structures from incomprehensible forces that want to harm me, in others I aimlessly travel long distances through abandoned settlements in search of people or to get to a particular destination. This was another dream about the latter, here it is:

I walk out from a dark, carpeted suburban house on the ███████ campus holding two dolls: an anthropomorphic ██████████████ and a █████ figure. I am make up voices for them as I exit. I find myself near the intersection of ██████████ and █████ and make my way from the gas station to the path that leads to ████████████. A voice thinks to me that I have 9 classes per day, with 2 regular classes completed so far: this means I can head home.

It is raining despite it being clear on a dark night. Several cars and busses run past me in and out of vision, illuminated by amber streetlights that flood the area. I pass a small red plastic doll from my hand into my jacket pocket for safekeeping. In front of me are a few other students from the campus, some travelling by bike and some by foot, heading in the same direction as me to their destinations. One rider in front of me swerves in front of a puddle to impressive air and lands on the sidewalk above the curve. I think to complement him, but he moves faster than me and I miss my chance. I follow him.

The path around me has shifted into a series of dilapidated, lit subway tunnels similar to the ones found in █████████. The rider moves quickly, but I continue to trail him from behind. I notice that the tunnels are filled with what must have been hundreds of people of different ages and genders and have an understanding that this location is a temporary holding place for them. None of the people have belongings aside from plain clothing on their backs, including similarly slate-grey padded jackets. They do not take notice of me or one another, as if they have congregated without conscious thought. Nearly all of them sit next to or lean off of railings that line platforms for empty, rusted train tracks. They appear dejected and pale, sick with sort of disease. Some are finishing cigarettes with their heads pointed to the ground, others carry strollers holding dark masses I assume to be children. I accidentally knock over a man running against ones of these railings to catch up with the rider, immediately fearing him becoming upset with me, but besides sitting up he does not react. I get up to move around him and walk to a stairwell.

I continue moving through the tunnels at brisk pace, which by this point have spiralled into a complex of abandoned interconnected metro stations to nowhere. I believe I am going in the direction I need in order to get home, although I seem to be moving into even deeper, abandoned sections of the structure. There are fewer groups of people that can be found here due to partial flooding, although they are in much worse condition than the rest. Many are dead or dying and have been fully isolated from the others. One man in particular appears to me as a totally emaciated █████████-like figure who is bleeding profusely from severe external wounds. I am afraid to approach him, but the voice of the rider appears in my mind to comfort me: "don't worry, we're going to extract him soon enough, keep moving." I turn away from the man and continue up another stairwell. The dream ends.

While I’m not one to ascribe meaning to unconscious thought, as much as I’m interested in the concept, I wouldn’t be surprised if consuming all this material on dream imagery and cross-cultural symbolism from Carl Jung has reinvigorated me. It’s a shame I’m so skilled at learning knowledge I am aware is often incoherent and useless, if only it wasn’t so captivating. I should do some more concrete activities like making art or music to get this excitement out, I’ve unfortunately learned the hard way that sitting on this type of vivid excitement, especially when stressed, only leads to bad outcomes.

2024-06-10: I am become ethnography, ethnographer of world(s)

I recently read an interesting piece written by cool artist and person of slight ongoing parasocial fascination Stephen Gilmurphy that describes his memories of the early 2000’s RPG Maker scene, and was instantly reminded of my very recently acquired acknowledgement of ethnography as a concept. It was totally foreign to me up until a few weeks ago that there was an entire academic community interested in studying the social dynamics of cultures, and that the many approaches to the field have sparked controversy over appropriate ways to share knowledge about a culture (past “cowboy-styled” ethnographic approaches that diminished those under study, etc.). In hindsight such a field’s existence would be obvious to anyone that has any degree of familiarity with the social sciences, but it was a very new concept to me as a bureaucratically-inclined trashlord. It got me thinking: how many subcultures are there that exist on the internet that have simply been forgotten to time and simply died before they were fully understood? How did interactions in these communities reflect and react to mainstream social attitudes and what do they tell us about those people today? What knowledge do people found in the successors of some of these communities, such as sites like Neocities, have specialized they’re not even aware can be shared and understood?

I say this as if it’s a new revelation or something, a quick Google search revealed to me numerous papers that investigate internet subcultures, but as an internet-poisoned homebody I wonder how many people out there hold similarly specialized knowledge of outsider/alternative internet cultures people participated in, if they feel that they've shared it with people who could benefit from the knowledge, and if it would ultimately be of any interest to others who have never encounted these places. I don’t know if my personal experiences told through a Team Fortress 2 community server zine would be comprehensible to anyone other than to myself and the very few people who engaged in these subcultures in their hayday, but I feel like there is value at least for myself in documenting the unique experiences I’ve had for personal closure for experiences I doubt will ever be replicated in any other space.

I am also reminded of the (limited) number of cowboy ethnographers that have encroached upon my trashheaps, both academic and amateur, who have erroneously shared information on experiences I’ve had without an appropriate frame of reference for the subcultures behind them (read: YouTube Poop) and shiver at the thought of my memories being relayed through word of mouth by others who simply do not understand them (risk of this happening again: zilch, but still). I’ve needed something creative to work on for a while, and these seem like perfectly acceptable targets to achieve just that. Others must know of my customs, including but not limited to when it is appropriate to do a funny killbind and the significance of the Pennsylvania Masturbators to Micheal Rosen’s holy crusade against weird teenagers. If nothing else, it will more than likely be a novel use of blank printer paper.

2024-05-20: Making anything at all

So often I feel like I’m in a state to be making something (i.e. now), but it’s hard to say exactly what. Usually it’s when I’ve just gobbled up a bunch of interesting ideas and art bits that coalesce into the stirrings of “hey yeah you remember that thing you wanted to do all those weeks ago? Now you should do it.” Yet so often I feel like I’m too exhausted to even conceptualize where I could begin. Going back to exploring more ideas after the fact feels like I’m admitting defeat by distracting myself from what I actually want to do, and I don’t feel that’s fair to me or the things I would ordinarily want to spend my full attention experiencing. Making small things, even if admittedly poor, may be the only way through at the moment. That and a change of environment may be all I need—damn you statutory holidays for closing everything.

Also, why should I even bother using a profile pic if I'm making my own site? Does it not speak myself enough? Out it goes for now.