So I have a peculiar brain. I say this because it has managed to take four completely unrelated, seemingly innocent facts about the current state of my life, and turn this into insomnia. Note the time of the post. I’ve been up for about an hour now, and here is the reason:

  1. I’m currently reading Sherlock Holmes Complete Works. This isn’t really notable, except in that if you’ve read it, you might recall the precision with which the main character goes through crime scenes and observes things. Watson’s descriptions for his methods, and the narratives describing those examinations borders on the pathological. A minor nod must also go out to the style of language involved in the dialog. This is certainly a function of the era and perhaps also the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s command of it.
  2. I’m playing a game called XCOM: Enemy Unknown at the moment. This is an odd sort of game that you don’t often see these days. The relevant point here is that it is a turn-based, squad combat game. For those not familiar with computer gaming parlance, what this means is that, during at least the action-heavy parts of the game, combat is slowed down into turns. In each turn, you get to choose an action for each of the 4-6 squad members in your strike team. Things like “move over to this spot”, “fire your gun at that enemy” or “use your special blow things up especially well ability” might be example actions. At the end of every round, each enemy unit on the field likewise chooses its own action and tries to foil your well laid plans. If you think about how this plays out, it makes what would otherwise be a very quick SEAL-team-like combat sequence play out in very long carefully scripted action sequences, broken into little chunks of action only several seconds long, mixed in with long pauses of your own strategic decision-making about what each member of your team should do to end the combat with minimum losses.
  3. I am capable of lucid dreaming. For those of you unfamiliar, I will link to the wikipedia page, and steal its first line here to explain: “A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. The term was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik (Willem) van Eeden (1860–1932). In a lucid dream, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment.”
  4. I wear a CPAP at night. Again, I link you to wikipedia if you happen to be unfamiliar. It is basically like going to bed wearing an oxygen mask, prescribed to help with my sleep apnea.

Ok, I’m going pause here briefly to give you a chance to read stuff at those links if needed, and maybe think about how these things might all play in concert with one another. Go ahead, I’ve got all night. Take a few minutes…

Alright, so here’s what my brain has done with all of that. I end up dreaming about Sherlock Holmes crime scenes and gunfights. Except that those gunfights and crime scene investigations end up playing out like XCOM combat sequences, with each character getting to move in little time-sliced chunks, after each move, taking a moment to have a soliloquy in Sherlockian dialog, with exactingly long sequences of observations about what is going on and with whom. If you’ve seen the recent couple of movies with Robert Downey, Jr, you might recall the sequences where you can see him planning out a method of attacking an opponent, in each moment observing how to best disable them, and then seeing it play out in real time exactly as he had surmised. That is how it happens in the dream. Now add to this the fact that I begin lucid dreaming, and I can, in fact, influence the course of the action, and it becomes exactly like playing XCOM-style in a Sherlockian novel. And then, of course, becoming aware of the sounds of my CPAP machine, adding that into my dream, and then slowly falling out of the dream state because moving through Sherlockian combat scenes in slow motion while listening to the augmented sounds of your own machine-assisted breathing is, in fact, quite disturbing and mind-numbingly boring.

So yeah, thanks brain! I owe you one. I’m going to just go in to work early and try and get some work done.

Brain? By the way? Pull this shit again, and I’m pulling out the ambien and taking your ass down. Just sayin’.