Friday, July 16, 2010


I just saw Inception.  It was pretty awesome. The fact that I say that when I spent the last hour of the movie squirming in bladder-ful pain means it was a great movie. Damn you, large Icee, and your 50-cent upgrade from regular size!

I've always been a dream person, though. I find dreams and the subconscious extremely fascinating, and am constantly inspired by my own.  I really should be better about writing them down when I wake up, because sometimes I remember having an epic dream the night before -- one that, upon waking, inspires me to write a book or game about it -- but lose the really special details of it by the time I sit down with time to write about it.

~ Spoilers (kind plot spoilers)! ~

I think Inception did a great job capturing the experience of the dreamer, while also making it an action movie. It was like Ocean's Eleven but for dreams/thoughts instead of Vegas/money.

In the movie, they called it "the kick" but I've always called it "falling awake". Everyone knows what I'm talking about, and I'm so happy they used that experience in the movie. Actually, I guess they twisted it to be more about actually falling and that waking you up. The phenomenon I am talking about is when you are asleep and feel like you are falling and wake up with a jolt in bed, obviously in no actual danger of falling.

I also thought they did a great job taking advantage of the fact that when you are asleep/dreaming, time moves slower in the dream than in real life. The first time I realized this was when I was about 5 years old and still sleeping in my parents' bed on occasion. My mom got up and said she'd wake me up when she was done with her shower, and I swore I was asleep for an hour. Inception uses this concept to build levels of induced dreaming such that at each level, more time passes in the dream than in the level above, making it possible to accomplish a whole lot in the space of a nap or single night of sleep. In effect, if the dream-inducing concept in the movie were possible, it would solve the problem of not having enough time in a day. Obviously it wouldn't provide more time to do physical things. What it would be useful for is to spend time in your mind thinking about problems or decisions, or if you architected it properly (the materials available in the dream), you could study!  That's the nerd in me speaking, because I wish I had enough time in my life to learn any number of new skills and languages.

Since the dreams can be shared, I imagine the social potential.  Second Life is a virtual world where people can meet up with their avatars to watch movies together, or meet with an online class or community.  In the movie, all the dream participants had to be in close proximity, so distant network dreaming wouldn't necessarily be possible (or would it?), but I can imagine a lot of fun being had with a group of friends sleeping for a few hours and (safely) traveling a foreign city or an amusement park together, or a couple getting together for a fancy date without even leaving home. Anyone see the movie Date Night? Imagine a married couple taking a 20 minute nape together and being able to go on a dream date in that time? The possibilities would be as limitless as the human mind.

People always tell me that I am strange to be able to remember my dreams with such detail, but really it's only the ones that mean something to me at the time that I particularly hold onto, kind of like memories from before the age of 5 -- you only really hold onto the extra memorable ones. Well I have had a lot of dreams in my life that I wish so hard that I could go back to. The dream-inducing in this movie makes that possible: you architect a dream that, coupled with the time-lengthening property of dreams, enables you to live for many hours or longer -- even years -- in an alternate reality that you can create yourself, without losing hardly any time in the real world. In the movie, this is recognized as a drug, and I am glad it did not overlook that potential. What is truly amazing about it is your body does not age in the real world, only your mind. The downside? You lose your natural ability to dream on your own. That would be a travesty. As great as it would be to invent my own dream worlds to escape to, I would despair at losing the incredibly things my subconscious completely invents on its own, the ones that still surprise and inspire me.

take time to dream.

p.s. I went to Borders after the movie, and couldn't stop myself.  It's been a little over a year since my mom closed her bookstore, the one I grew up in (when I was ~4, I even picked out which bookshelf in the layout would be the children's section), and I realized how much I miss it. Borders was competition for my mom's tiny independent shop in downtown Willow Glen, but the selection is marvelous, and I had to stop myself from spending the entire afternoon browsing.  When I have a house some day, I will have so many bookshelves full of books because I seriously want every one (and have no time to read them)!


  1. You lucky! I want to see the movie badly. And sorry to hear about your mother's bookstore.

  2. That's okay, she had a good 17-year run. She decided to sell/close it by the end of May last year because the store wasn't making enough money anymore for her to bother keeping it open. Her health was also in steep decline at the time (it got a lot worse, but is now much better), so it was time for her to retire anyway.

    Go see Inception if you can while it's still in theaters! Well worth it.