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7:48 To Duved...

I'm off! 7:12 hour train ride. 7:48. See y'all in a bit.


I woke up late.

Late late late late.

Fading into a daydream I wasn't willing to fully whisk away - where everything fell into place. Where my future felt fulfilling, filled with fumes of passion and praise and plans and freedom and grace. I relaxed for a little bit longer; erased some of the wrinkles on my face.

I had weird dreams before that, as always. I was in a hotel bathroom for a while - reminiscent of one of those small ones they have on cruise ships. Though with a bathtub.

Come to think of it this one was probably inspired by the one I saw in Jack Reacher yesterday - where Jack is whacked in the back of the head with a baseball bat and falls into the tub, and two thugs come in and wreck havoc before he has a chance to react.

It's such a good scene.

I wasn't a huge fan of Jack compared to the contemporary John (Wick) when I saw the movie last time, but I think I've been turned now.
I appreciated this one so much more than I did then. For the intricacies; for the so flawlessly choreographed and necessary chaos to match his quick wit and professionalism. For the unorthodox and very cliché-combatting methods and mannerisms of combat and revenge. For the welcome minimalism in a world of action that's become all the more a mess.

In the dream I was just making a mess of that bathroom myself though.
It was a weird dream, like I said. And apart from the bathroom I was... somewhere else... wandering... not sure anymore. Fragments of subconscious thought flee me quick.

In real life I think I may have a tonsil infection or something. I'm chronically tired lately, the hearing in my left ear - adjacent to a paining tonsil - seems a little dull and obstructed. My teeth ache.

I hope I can rid myself of this shizzle before I take the train up to Duved next week, to celebrate my brother's girlfriend's 50th birthday. I have the presents ready, but not yet packed - hope to manage that and a quick watercolor card this weekend. Which is passing too fast for comfort.

Where does the time go. Row row row your boat... column.
(Say that like 'Gollum').

In more positive news that title track that's been on the backburner for all too long at this point that I believe I've mentioned in plentiful a previous post is nearing completion, finally! Hopefully it'll be up and out next week, and I can move on, and I'll be back to the gym with a vengeance after this upcoming trip.

Been playing it a bit safe lately. Instead of getting in shape lately.

On the one hand I still need to get in shape - I am working on it, and it'd be good with more routine exercise to fuel my focus; help me get more done... but on the other hand (or foot - why discriminate) I feel like I ought maybe as mentioned play it safe when I'm at this tier of tired.

Walks are a more moderate and sometimes suitable exercise option. The weather's rainy but I've been taking more of those...

And tonight I want to sleep! Already I just want to sleep. Just blackout for the night and

beep beep beep.

Speak more to y'all next week.

If You Listen...

If you listen, you know twice as much.
You know everything you know and everything the other guy knows.

The Old Lady Detective Dream

I dreamt I was an old lady detective, solving crimes.

Which was new. I don't think I've been an old lady before.

It started with a swim though, in a very twisted part of the dream I think may have been partially inspired by Eminem's Godzilla music video, and/or an Alice in Chains live performance of pain that I watched yesterday (Love Hate Love). It's the song with the 'peel the skin of your face' and 'in my sick head' references and all (and a ton of emotion, really, impressive)...

So that's what I was listening to before I went to sleep. Great songs the both of those, but they do have somewhat sinister themes. That may impact dreams.

In the dream family members were going against each other.

I'm not sure who was going after who, but there was actively talk of killing people, and getting away with it, though I'm not sure of the reason... We had arrived at a mansion-type building at the top of a steep, slanting grassy green slope - I think by boat - and as we neared the house we realized that things were about to start going down for real.

I didn't want to be a part of it.

I made my way to the road instead, maybe to flee this debacle, and then I made my way through the woods, down to the water, and we swam away.

At this point it wasn't just me, but also my sister and brother - maybe others? I was holding a book, swimming difficultly as to not let the pages get wet, because for some reason this book was important. It was a central part of the whole operation. It was why everything was as it was, and why were finally escaping, and why we felt relieved - safe with the book in our hands - though I'm not sure why.

It looked a bit like the slightly worn and yellowed Clive Cussler novel I've had in my backpack for a while now. The Chase. Great read.

I think I did feel a little threatened by my kin on the swim though.

They closed in on me occasionally, in a playful way, yet it made me swim a little closer to the shoreline as we swam onward.

We were swimming the full length of a lake. It was a long swim. The sun shone and the shoreline consisted of sloping hills with thick greenery - save for an open shoreline at the very end, the canopies of the trees somewhat shadowing the open land.

And I was wearing a fleece sweater. A worn black and blue one I commonly wear indoors while I sit by the computer, with broken pocket zippers and SPORT texted in large letters on the front.

So that was the swim. I'm not sure how it went. The way to that mansion I think we were traveling by boat - possibly by hovercraft...

Moments later I was the old lady (not that old - middle-aged maybe - though with a calm, cheery and old-like demeanor... and graying hair), and I was in a small town, that reminded me of the Wild West, also on a slope.

It was pretty big. It was really more like a city, though the part of it that I started out in was smaller, and consisted mostly of wooden housing.

I was there to get to the bottom of something. Something bad had happened. Not sure what.

I talked to a bartender, who was very forthcoming but also avoiding.

He didn't reveal anything.

I asked about something that was broken and he said it had to be replaced with a very advanced sounding item, that he clearly came up with on the spot just to avoid suspicions, but though he clearly was suspicious I realized I could not do much there, so I left... a band of hooligans swept into the city around this time, but a (corrupt, I believe) Sheriff kept them at bay, saying I was there, and they'd best keep calm until I left.

Later on I was by a pond, partially covered with ice, or mist. I searched for a body who had crashed into the lake in a car, and I found it.

He seemed dead - the person I was with proclaimed - but I had certain skills with acupuncture, and I wiggled a needle somewhere around his throat area (been listening to vocal coaching videos too recently - lots of focus on the larynx - that might explain this bit) and suddenly he seemed stable again! He was going to wake up!

And it's around this point that I woke up from my dream.

There was a bit more to it. I was riding in a jeep towards said lake with said companion a little earlier - maybe we were chasing the guy who crashed into the lake... and I'm sure there were more nuances to our conversation, but this is all I recall.

I woke up and got up quick and I'm a little stressed today, so the memories fade quick, but it really was an interesting dream...

Different. A bit like The Glass Onion Mystery. A bit like Scream.

A bit like some odd mix of all aforementioned references and potential inspiration sources that only my mind could connect and concoct.

Wonder if I'll ever dream of being an old lady again...

How You Get Good At Something

The stratagem I deduct from this video: Sleep less. Do more. Focus on essentials only. Exercise. And find your grind.

The World Sauna Championships 2010

Watched a somewhat disturbing mini-documentary yesterday. This may be a somewhat disturbing post too, note! Don't read if you don't want to.

Have you ever heard of the World Sauna Championships? That took place in Finland on a yearly basis up until 2010? Where each year contestants would gather in a small sauna, with a starting temperature of 110°C, where half a liter of water was poured on the stones every thirty seconds, until all but one contestant stumbled out of the room. The last contestant to get out of the room UNAIDED won the championship.

2010 they upped the stakes a bit. The sauna was a bit more extreme than before. Russian Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finn Timo Kaukonen battled it out to the bitter end... when Timo collapsed, and they were assisted out of the room. The Russian had to be dragged out - he couldn't move - and even after a successful resuscitation he died on the spot. Apparently he had anesthetic cream on his skin, and had taken strong painkillers before the competition, which was not allowed, and maybe also the reason he died.

Timo on the other hand made it out alive, was taken to the hospital with severe burns as layers of skin literally loosened from his body, and he fell into a coma for six weeks. He remembers nothing of the competition. It was a painful recovery, yet even now, with burn marks and scars covering his body, he sits in the sauna daily, and wishes the competitions would start again.

He has no qualms with the arrangers of the event that caused him so much pain. He sees it as an unfortunate event, but he loves the sport, and he's sad that after this tragedy no more competitions take place.

What's somehow even more unfair is that a contestant who both of these two champions outlasted officially won this championship that year - without undergoing any of this suffering - since he was able to leave the sauna on his own earlier. And is thus recorded as the final winner of these championships. Ever. For all he went through Timo deserved that spot IMO.

I wonder, if the Russian hadn't taken those painkillers, would he have left earlier? Would he have lived? Would Timo have gotten out of there without those burns, as well, and been the victor? Would the yearly championship's have continued henceforth? And could they then have kept going without severe injury, or was it inevitable that eventually they'd up the stakes too much; push themselves too far; not know or care for their limitations?

The reason they suffered such severe burns is apparently because the water tank released more water than it was supposed to as well, and essentially boiled the two contestants alive. But to win an extreme sport you need extreme fortitude, so they withstood the pain beyond what's humanly possible; beyond the point of no return. Those pain receptors are there for a reason after all...

It reminds me a bit of that one guy (Francisco Lázaro) who ran an Olympic marathon in the 1910's, and died of a heatstroke since he'd covered his body in wax (suet, more specifically) as sun lotion, and it covered his pores and made it impossible for the body to regulate heat via sweat. He was the first person to die in an Olympic event. Of course it's a different case since his death wasn't by direct cause of the competition, but his use of wax does feel a bit similar to Vladimir's use of anesthetic cream, also in a competition where such a concoction would theoretically improve his performance and give him a better chance of winning.

He probably wasn't the first one to use wax for such purposes, but maybe the first to die for it. Back before they knew about heat regulation, I suppose. Back before regular sun lotion was a thing. He was too but a victim of unfortunate circumstance, attempting to ride out the limitations of the human body...

I guess the moral of these stories is to trust your body.

Don't cheat. Don't attempt to do something you wouldn't be capable of doing without assistance.

This also made me think of Hisashi Ouchi, a worker involved in creating fuel rods for an experimental plant in Japan, who during a time of inadequate regulations or knowledge of the dangers thereof used a little too high a dose of radioactive chemicals, causing a reaction that exposed him to the highest dose of radiation any human has ever been exposed to thus far - and survived. He was taken to the hospital in a terrible state, and kept on life support for eighty-three days, in excruciating pain, wishing to die, as doctors used him as a case study on the effects of radiation.

^ One of many incidents that has made me very skeptical in regard to the future use and potential benefits of nuclear energy.

In the case of the sauna championships though surely we knew it wasn't a healthy sport from the start.

Whereas that wax was a creative approach to keeping out harmful UV radiation these tournaments were just straight up madness. How many braincells did contestants lose during the years leading up to this tragic finale? Surely there have to be worse consequences to sitting in a 110°C room than your heart-rate going close to 200 BPM and occasional blisters forming on your skin.

The pain's the threshold. The fact that these guys surpassed it, voluntarily, to the point of death and third-degree burns... just feels very disturbing. And watching actual footage from said contest is no less so.

I'm glad I learned more of this legend, because he really was - and is - a remarkably strong-willed man, but at the same time I kind of wish I didn't.

He reached a level of fortitude it seems nobody should have. The will to surpass the body's built in defenses against danger. The mind overpowering it's common cage. Voluntarily subjecting itself to this level of damage.

It's kind of haunting.

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