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    I had done it. At long last, weeks of trial and error applying ridiculous solution after ridiculous solution through which it seems every ultimate eventuality had been considered and even anticipated I had almost accidentally finished the adventure game I didn't even realize I'd been playing; strangely enough, given my difficulty with it, the game had apparently been of my own creation. Yet I knew nothing of its intricacies and details save what I was now appreciating in retrospect as the craftwork I had enjoyed which had smoothly, seamlessly subverted my ordinary experiences; ignoring the then unrealized fact that it was a dream and thus clearly the former, in-dream perhaps the game was a product of the subconscious rather than the conscious mind? Is this what virtual reality will be like to the players with slippery grasps on reality? Perhaps someday I would go on with these experiences to author the game which I had just played and send it back through time.

    I was the first person ever to finish it. In the act of realizing the final act of the game, casually pursuing an ambulatory object of my desire I am led onto a stage where an awards ceremony is already in progress, assembled in anticipation of my pressing conclusion of The Game. I sit back, pleased, as an announcer presides over a presentation of video-captured (or computer-simulated?) highlights of the past few weeks, subtle advancements in the game all unsuspected at the time.

      "You may remember this," says the announcer, "as the piece de resistance of this game's predecessor."

    An almost-interpretable graffiti doodle of a three-quarter view three-dimensional pointy cross a by the game company's mascot, Bobo the monkey - the only graphic in the entire previous game, which had carried itself out primarily in a textual medium. I recognize it, for plot purposes, as an almost-forgotten artifact of previous years' intentional gaming.

      "Of course in the years since the technology in the industry has advanced unimaginably and the skills and talents of its finest craftsmen have increased apace. Although this work didn't end up in the final release of the game, we show it now as bonus behind-the-scenes material from a fixture in the gaming industry."

      (same cross, rotated 45 degrees.)

      "Take the opportunity to admire and appreciate..."

      (click.) (same cross, rotated 90 degrees.)

      "the fine improvements modern software engineering..."

      (click.) (same cross, rotated 135 degrees.)

      "has permitted Bobo in his new interpretations of truly a classic theme."

      (click.) (same cross, rotated 180 degrees.)

    I won. I won. I wonder if now that I've unexpectedly surpassed this unknown hurdle I can finally get on with my life?
I'm afraid to accidentally finish this game. You know how it is, like realizing that you just flipped the last page of a book you were really enjoying? But you've got to play - you can't stop even if you want to. Denying assertions of eXistenZ, this game has no pause, though if you count the difference between dream and wake it dilates such that the hours of dream-life experienced in minutes of slumber can seem uncountably greater.

We'll have plenty of time to sleep when we're dead, but how much time will we have to dream?

in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...

I had a dream my tongue had turned around in my mouth. There was a lot of dirty brownish pinks and the purple of your tongues veins. I have some birds eye images of me pawing at my throat but I’m not sure how much of the dreams visuals where i see myself occurred or are me filling in the sensations with images. My tongue had turned around and began to grow down my throat. Most of the dream was just colors and seeing the inside of my throat clogged (it looked like seeing through that camera they stick in peoples stomachs on medical shows) and my tongue, looking very internal organish, gorging with blood. I snapped into this dream. I remember the feeling that I had just left normal sleep. I was choking and could feel my tongue expanding. I remember the feeling around my collar bone when my tongue hit the soft base of my throat, wondering if it would expand throughout my chest or stay in its original form and head for the stomach. I had Kid A on rotation while I feel asleep.

This girl was in her late twenties. She was the daughter of a very rich, eccentric man; she had no mother; and she lived on a cheerful tropical island.

This girl discovered that her father had eaten her mother in a mysterious fit of cannibalism. This horrified her. She went to the time machine in the big city to see what circumstances changing would do.

She found them all in an escape pod room. The pod's engine was in a fit of instability and ready to explode... She inspired her father to add kerosene to it, and everything came out all right...

...and back in the present again, she realizes that both her father and her mother are now dead, and circumstances are coming after her as well... she rushes back in time to undo her change.

Now there are people trying to block her progress.. she hurtles through the big city in the past, hiding from her pursuers, and finally makes her way to the escape pod room. The pod explodes as expected...

...and back in the present again, she's playing a live-action card game with many of her friends. They're all running around, flashing cards at each other--if it's a number card, they have to take it, if it's an action card, they have to do it. All the action cards seem to be taken up with the kitchen; there are supposed to be more in the game than that...

This is when the girl gets her first loss of spirit flash. Her vision turns sometimes red, and she becomes afraid, and people begin to act hostile towards her. It wears off shortly when she reasserts herself.

The game is over by now. I--I appear in the dream now--I go down with the girl to the ophthalmologist's, where someone told me they hid all the other action cards. The place is deserted (which makes sense, it being evening twilight and all). It stands near the beach.

She suddenly realizes that the present is not currently okay... What happened? I forget--I think it had something to do with her father's fortunes, and her father coming after her; the cannibalism again.

I try and cast a time spell. Open wide the gates of time / and ride the ancient sands... I know there are two other verses to the spell, but I don't know what they are, and I make them up as I go along. Naturally, the spell doesn't work. Luckily a red mage friend nearby knew it enough to correct me--but the correction wouldn't stick in my head, and she had to do it. I don't seem to have the talent for magic. (Darn.)

We're on the other side of town from the escape pod room and can't get to it in time. In the taxicab we're in, we have the driver make a cell phone call to the girl's father, and tell him to put applesauce in the engine instead of kerosene.

...and back in the present again, I find we're on top of some kind of Statue of Liberty replica located on the island. There is no wind, and most of the ledges we are sitting on (behind the neck of the lady) have ledges under them so we can't fall too far, but it is still very frightening to be on. Heights are scary.

The girl has another flash of loss of spirit. She has a harder time shaking it off, and is acting funny. I forget how we get off the statue, but we do...

...and we are next to some kind of altar where two people have just died. As they die, two very large black books appear next to them. They are very obviously dangerous texts of magic. I look through them and try to find something to cure the girl's condition. I find the text--it is written in Latin or possibly Etruscan or ancient Greek--I think I could translate it in the dream, but I forget the translation now. It ended with ENF.

I found the spell. We set up all the paraphernalia and I got ready to cast it... and nothing happened. I forgot I have no talent for magic. Luckily there was a white mage here who was able to cast it. The girl recovered when she (the mage) cast the spell. Thank heavens.

I studied the spell and the effect. It looks like what was happening to the girl was that evil spirits were taking the shape of some of us and were putting curses on her when they got near. Terrifying, really, to think they can do that.

(I did some flipping through the spellbook. It came with a host of warnings, along with bits about how failure to finish a spell, or to pronounce incorrectly, can lead to the gruesome death of the caster... I gather that is what happened to the two corpses the books were found by.)

The girl went back in time again... it seems, her father had come back normal, but her mother still had not made it into the timeline, and she wasn't ready to give up.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see what she did in the past this time, and I still don't know whether it worked or not....

...and back in the present again, I realize her spirit protection spell against curses has worn off. She is hiding behind some box barrier, wisely not letting anyone come near, but I think it is already too late and she has been cursed again. The white mage cast the restorative spell again, and she came to her senses.

Everyone remaining piled into the station wagons and headed for the docks to get off the island as quickly as possible.

There were a lot of details I forgot in this dream. It starts where it starts, and it ends where it ends, but I know I've left some bits out of the middle. I'm sure you understand.

  • The outer walls of my building are made of concrete veneer. It peeled off, revealing the ribbed core of the highrise I live in.
  • Andrew was experimenting with spider legs. Long long spider legs. They were detached from the bodies. First he zapped one with a machine and nothing happened. Then he glued two together and zapped them. They ran around and eventually expired. At one point they were all over the place. Clusters of autonomous spider legs crawling all over the lab and attacking us. I squashed one with a large math textbook.
  • She was reclined in a lawn chair on top of a grassy knoll. I came up from behind and kissed her cheek.
I am living a less than fulfilling life and try to find happiness through attending sporting events at the local stadium. While watching a tennis match I throw up a red flag and yell “penalty’’, then blackness, now a loud roaring crowd surrounds me with my empty hand still raised in the air. We are all watching children’s soccer in a massive stadium.

At one of these matches (there were so many) I meet a young girl who later introduces me to her older sister who is on drugs at the time. The three of us sit together in the stands and the older sister starts to sing seductively and I rest my head in her lap. A sense of fulfillment washes over me and I realize that she has stopped singing.

I open my eyes to find her passed out from a drug overdose and paramedics move in to take her away. The younger girl is upset because of what has happened and angry at me. I try to help by gathering the girl’s things, but the little girl grabs them and looks up to me betrayed and runs off, I am left holding the little girl’s silver winter jacket.

Death What-Ifs & High-Tech Foam

  • In a mansion built on top of a small mountain, I'm chatting it up with Brad Mehldau. To pass the time, we take trains down and up the mountain. In my head, I have visions of what-if scenarios involving the events after the death of a loved one. In succession, scenes unfold before me where my mother has died, my father and each of my relatives, my friends individually and in combination, and finally myself.

  • Walking along in downtown Santa Cruz, an acquaitance appears in front of me and says, "I want to introduce you to somebody." I meet a man who tells me he works in the high-tech foam industry.

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