Alfonzo's Doomworld Forums Blog

Alfonzo's Doomworld Forums Blog

Vasovagal response (A victory for Danny Boyle) January 21, 2013, 11:13 am
This doesn't usually happen. I can witness a great many ordeals in life without any sort of trigger being pulled, be it the sight of bloody torrents or finding myself gripped in an inconvenient headlock... but when I do topple over and lose consciousness in this way it's almost always very embarrassing and -- in those particularly rare instances where celluloid is involved -- rather telling of the quality of the film responsible.

Danny Boyle's much lauded 127 hours had been sitting on my "to watch" list since it came out in 2010, and earlier this evening I finally got around to sitting down and hitting play. I was engrossed. The highly stylized yet predominantly realistic account of Aron Ralston's little tumble down the gorge arrested my attention from the onset and wouldn't would let go until the very end. I was hooked.

Save for during one scene.

As I watched it, still very much enthralled, a tickle of nausea ran 'round my stomach. The blend of style and realism, the well timed sound cues, the visuals, the throbbing music...: all was positively hellbent on pulling that 2-year-dormant vasovagal trigger and dropping me to the floor faster than a Jovian cannonball. But it wasn't until the most intense part of the scene had actually concluded that I realised how much effort it had taken me (and my stomach) to survive it. As soon as Aron "pulled away" from the inanimate antagonist of the film, I decided to pause and stand up for a leak, and "maybe grab a bit of fresh air."

Piss > flush > *NOPE*

...I came to after roughly 10 seconds of indescribable confusion, contemplating where on earth I was, slipper clad feet hugging tight the base of the toilet bowl in front of me. The neck was a little sore, but that was all she wrote for the most part (the slight hunch I had adopted that evening from slumping at the computer screen had come in handy after all!). I lay still for another minute, got up, had some tea and biscuits, nipped a bit of fresh air for good measure, ate a banana... and then returned to finish the film.

Danny Boyle 1
Alfonzo 0

Presumably I win when I succeed in making a film faint. This will take some planning.

Ignorance is bliss (What's in a dream?) June 20, 2012, 7:45 am
My brother walked into the kichen this morning to announce his first ever lucid dream. He didn't go into much detail about the content, but it did get me wondering whether or not this sort of dreaming is even desirable. It's fast becoming a topic that I find very, very interesting...

Why would I want to control what's happening in a dream? If the purpose is to find yourself in an environment in which you are suddenly capable of manipulating anything and everything around you, how different is that to simply imagining it as you're awake? Is it because you don't have to constantly apply your mind to the task of creating this world, and merely point at where to go? Or is it simply because, now that you're not just stuck doing nothing for 6 to 8 hours, you might as well make the most of the occasion? It seems much more "profitable" to play out the experience in complete ignorance, reacting genuinely to every event as though it were actually happening.

Much of my dilemma stems from the fact that there are barely any events that occur within my dreams that might be considered normal. My most recent outing to the land of Nod, for instance, saw me delivering bowls of milky wine to a residency overgrown with vines in which a former classmate was crying pitifully into a waterbed. After fixing a pair of tricycles together he turned into David Frost, and we subsequently transported ourselves to an urban intersection filled with sliding vending machines, polite hoodies, and parliamentary offices. When a gloomy day breaks over the horizon, the intersection we are in is revealed to be the divide between a glass and concrete structure of architectural wonder, situated plainly in the midst of Greenland. And then I eat some pastry.
...Now, I think I have a rather decent imagination, but I recognise that, when I'm awake, the sorts of scenarios and environments that I usually think up of are too contrived and represented to best the ones that occur overnight. If I were granted control over what was happening, the whole experience would dumb down rather quickly, and I'd end up imagining myself in places much less interesting than the false hub of Greenland architecture, Centauri Mons, a door factory in Windsor, or the first class section of an 18th century train travelling through a salt flat in a giant cargo hold. The unstable nature of everything would be lost. No chaos!

This is all granted that I'm not already dreaming lucidly in any case, because I'm completely unsure as to whether or not I'm
  1. Aware and in control,
  2. Aware and simply more entertained by the idea of letting the dream play out, or
  3. Completely oblivious.

How could I consider the dream that I had last night to be real when all that is happening is too bizarre to overlook? It seems to lend toward either of the first possibilities quite well, yet I remain uncertain.
I suspect that I am missing the point entirely. Clearly there is something of a difference between being able to imagine any scenario and finding yourself consciously in that same scenario as part of a dream... but having observed the sheer obsession that other people seem to have with the concept I find it hard to shake off the feeling that much of this is going over my head.

I shall strive to obtain lucidity -- despite the small probability that I already have -- in order to see what all the fuss is about. It's an interesting affair.

Burns Night January 26, 2011, 6:40 pm
It seems as though being in Spain alone isn't enough to distance yourself from the annual celebration of British figures in literature, although belonging to a village where the second most popular bar is run by two people from Scotland may have some influence on the matter.

The haggis was masterfully addressed, steamed and presented. The whisky was skulled "neat" and adequately stocked. The poetry was bawdy, loutish and otherwise mesmerising to listen to, and the music was just as expected as it was hoped for - loud. And appropriately out of tune. I couldn't have asked for a better evening.

Here's to Robbie Burns, a fine poet, and to the best excuse on the British calendar to walk home a sorry wreck.
1 Comment

Sudoku October 12, 2010, 1:24 pm
Bullshit. Why do I even play this game?

If you get it done, please tell: I'll finally be able to go outside and tell those Spanish kids to stop setting off firecrackers at my front door.

When in Rome October 8, 2010, 1:18 pm
Damn it...
It's now gotten to the stage where I can't even go down to the village grocery store to get milk without being terrified at the prospect of being asked something in a language I don't understand.

I'm living in Spain. Or, at least, I am currently residing in Spain. But unlike most other only-English speaking people in the community in which I live, I don't intend on staying here for very much longer. Months at the most, maybe. Yet there are people who have lived here for years - decades even - and haven't bothered to pick up an ounce of Spanish. They... no, we stick to our own private corners building walls around ourselves, unsupportive of local interests or traditions; completely un-associative with local life, then have the gall to pride ourselves in belonging to a different style of living and of having left our old trends behind us. I mean, I realized the British were an overtly defensive and occasionally abusive people with a mild identity crisis, but I didn't think we could scale to such heights of disrespect as this. I just feel like an impostor, and I'm surprised the local Spanish don't boot me down the mountainside every time I walk into their shop to buy their locally grown goods, sporting my public schoolboy smile and nodding every time someone begrudgingly acknowledges my presence.

It's simple. I've got to get more involved. The preservation of village culture depends on it. If we've made the decision to move to another country with an entirely different perspective on life (we're talking inland mountain communities here), why can't we learn to adapt to and respect our surroundings instead of dragging the sordid habitualities of our old one behind us?

Also, hi! First blog!