Chess_board_opening_stauntonI recently just started playing chess again – my opponents mainly being my dad and brother. Last summer we ignited a near-daily ritual of playing and yesterday, when my brother suggested we play a game, I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

Clean cut war in slow motion somehow. For sport, for fun. No blood.

I don’t have a color preference. We rotate often. But it’s the strategy; It’s getting the board really dirtied up. You need to muster up enough logic to solve a Rubik’s Cube. You have all these variables and variations: “What if this? And what if that?”, “What would be a good move for him? What’s the motivation behind that move there?” It’s the competition that’s so invigorating.

I rarely win. Today I did – against my dad. My brother and I had a stalemate, though he beat me pretty good yesterday. Because after awhile fatigue starts to set in; You make stupid mistakes, get overconfident, try to carry out a plan that gets screwed up and you’re forced to improvise. It’s Life on a black and white checkered board. There are sacrifices, blunders, and victories.

I think you can analogize anything to Life. I like that; The eternity of it, the perpetual validation. Aum.

I love that scene in the first season of House of Cards where Francis plays chess with himself. As he’s such a manipulative character I find that an interesting hobby; Anticipating your opponent’s next move so it comes so natural to you. Just, wow.

I’m not like that. Even if I was manipulative, I wouldn’t have the patience to sit through that. Ha! Because at the end of the day you’re just playing against yourself and in turn, you become your own worst enemy – which I think Francis accomplishes. We’ll have to see how Season 3 pans out! No spoilers here! (I don’t think I’ve given away too much – nothing specific, anyway. Don’t worry, HOC virgins. You’re fine! Just tune in ASAP. Such a good show! We must discuss!)

On another note, here’s a hilarious scene from Frasier when he can’t beat his dad at chess:

Day 21: Build On Your New-To-You Format Post, and Let the World Know

Last week I posted a video of me covering “Failure By Design” by Brand New.

With that said, I’d like to tell you about a dream I recently had. The dream itself is not so much “inspired” by the above post but is connected to Brand New, however small that connection is. Plus, it’s slightly hilarious and I really wanna share it with you.

Two nights ago at about 5 am, I practically bolted out of bed with really bad cramps. You know that subconscious state you’re half in, half out of when it’s late at night and you’re in pain? You toss and turn and debate with yourself whether or not to fully take off the covers and get up, or if you can away with forcing yourself to fall back asleep? Well, I was in one of those states.

After taking pills and grabbing a hot water bottle I did my best to soothe myself back to sleep but just couldn’t do it. I was wired, but still had a shroud of dream-vision around me. I’m closing my eyes, trying to find a comfortable position, and now my mind is racing. I couldn’t tell you why it was. I’m not undergoing any unusual amount of stress, but this has happened to me before – My racing mind won’t stop and I begin to formulate a meaningless scenario in my head that is preposterous and unlikely in its own right, but I stress about as though it is a real-life, conscious event that I need to make an immediate decision about.

Before I went to bed I watched a few episodes of Frasier. I TiVo it on the regular. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time. The writing is so genius and the acting so fantastic, each episode is real treat. After finishing up 3 or 4 of them, I went upstairs and continued to listen to Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon. I had started listening to the album that afternoon and wanted to finish it up before I went to bed. And so I did.

My stress/anxiety/mind-racing dream consisted of me having to make a pertinent decision: I had to incorporate Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey into an episode of Frasier. I’m embarrassed to say I must’ve spent at least 45 minutes freaking out about it in my subconscious state. I could see the set of Frasier’s apartment and Jesse Lacey standing near the piano a grey/beige long-sleeved shirt – and I had to figure out what to do with him! What would he do? What would he say for his special guest appearance?!

This quasi-lucid dream drove me out of my mind, nevermind the fact I was seriously trying to pair these two unlikely people together (Jesse+Frasier BFF 4E). And it was slightly lucid because I knew I was dreaming! I knew I was in control, but the lines between dream and reality were so blurred because I was so stressed. And instead of changing the scenario and choosing to dream something else, I stayed with it and participated in a hellish perpetual loop. The day before, I had read an article on lucid dreaming in The Atlantic, which no doubt contributed to this strange occurrence.

I actually completely forgot I had this dream until yesterday evening when I went for a walk; It popped back into my head and everything came flooding back.

I have a strange mind, I know this. It’s just all so funny to me. Why does this sort of thing happen? Sleep is supposed to be peaceful and regenerative. Why do our minds create absurdity and why do we allow ourselves to become overly anxious about it? One response could be I have difficulty with decision making (which I admit I do) and so my psyche is attempting to resolve that difficulty to get past that paralysis. Another could be the lack of decisions I’ve had to make in the waking world, so my mind is creating it’s own scenarios in which I must play a role in determining their outcomes. I could go on.

Has anyone else had a half-conscious stress dream like this? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear! 🙂

Jesse Lacey
Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey
Dr. Frasier Crane