About Dreaming and Inception

One of the best movies I've seen in a while has been Inception, the new Christopher Nolan movie about a group of corporate thieves who enter into other people's dreams in order to steal company secrets. The plot is more or less incidental, but it does set the stage for a really fascinating exploration of dreaming, thought, and consciousness. What's great about the movie (aside from being lots of fun) is that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities within the human mind. Because we know so little about our brains, it makes you wonder 'what if?' and 'why not?'.

The whole premise of the movie is based on the knowledge of knowing when you are dreaming. Think about it--when we dream, what we see in the dream is what is accepted as reality. Even though a few things may be strange about a dream, you don't notice it at the time, and simply absorb it into the present dream consciousness. However, there does exist the much documented experience of dreaming while knowing you are dreaming, called Lucid Dreaming.

When you know you are dreaming, then you are able to control your dreams-- for example you can see someone who you haven't seen in years, do things that are impossible in real life, like fly or move through walls. Nightmares can be turned into healing experiences.... The possibilities are endless. The difficult part is that it takes quite a bit of training to have regular lucid dreams, although some people have them naturally on occasion.

Where to start?

Stephen LaBerge is one of the scientists who pioneered the study of Lucid Dreaming, and any one who is interested should check out his books. His website, the Lucidity Institute, gives lengthy excerpts from his books and other information. He gives practical advice on how to start lucid dreaming and gives tips on dream techniques. The first step is of course to remember your dreams, because if you don't remember you've had a lucid dream, then what use is it? The trickier next step is to realize that you are actually dreaming in the dream, and there are reality testing methods that can help you do this.

Of course, Lucid dreaming is very different from the dream states in Inception. There is no such thing as group dreaming, and research has shown that dream time more or less corresponds to the actual time passed in waking life. There are many other differences, besides.

It is a movie, after all.

A Bear for Baby...

Over the weekend, we went to a little baby's first birthday. It was really interesting to see the Korean tradition of the 'dol' celebration, and see people I hadn't seen in years.

For the occasion, I made a purple bear, from the book The Happy Hooker. This was my third go at this pattern, and it was quite a bit easier this time around.

I hope baby Charlotte loves this little cub and gives it a good home!

Burnaby Village Museum

Burnaby Village Museum is one of the places I used to visit with my family when I was a child. So it was quite a treat to return to the museum after many years. There weren't too many people there, so we felt we had a lot of the museum to ourselves.

The museum is unique to the area, constructed as a 1920's era village that you can walk around and enter different businesses and domiciles.

Here is the stained glass in the church:

The impeccable classroom.

The inside of a working-class home.

My favorite, the printer, complete with working letterpress!

The barbershop:
To top it off, they were playing Buster Keaton's 'Balloonatic' and 'Seven Chances' in the old fashioned theatre. I would've stayed for the whole show, but there was lots to see.

We had a great time.

Wings Tap and Grill

A few months ago, Wings Tap and Grill opened on the corner of North Road and Lougheed, taking over from the Greek restaurant that used to be there. One afternoon, we decided to pay this new location a visit.

The interior was shiny and new, with lots of black wood and comfy booths. There were flat screen TVs everywhere, and we noticed that every seat had a clear view of a screen.

Shane ordered the Fiji Blond by Lighthouse, and I ordered the Wings Flamin' Caesar. The beer was light and refreshing, and the Caesar was actually quite good, with a great kick and the right amount of seasoning. The only thing is that it was really sludgy at the bottom of the glass.

We ordered Nach'r Average Nachos ($8.99 + $1.49 for guacamole), which looked really impressive when it arrived at the table. However, there were many things wrong with this dish: the nachos were really thin, with a weird texture, and tasted very similar to cardboard. The cheese was tasteless, and ended up being more on the plate than on the chips. The salsa was obviously from a bottle, and the guacamole had no resemblance to avocado, being really runny and devoid of any taste. A huge disappointment.

The good thing about this place is that the namesake wings are really good. We were lucky enough to visit on Sunday, when the wings are on special for $0.39 each. We ordered ten wings of Maui Lime and ten of the buffalo hot sauce flavour. These were great - the outside was crispy and the wings were nicely cooked. The hot wings had just the right amount of hot sauce, and the Maui Lime and slightly sticky and sweet flavour. The wings were done right.

However, what came with our wings was something a lot less appetizing. Our server plopped a rusty metal bucket on our table, and it seeing the wet, barely rinsed, rusted bucket was a little...well, disgusting.

Nevertheless, the place is a great for casual eats and is pretty family friendly. A good addition to the neighborhood.

Choon Ha Choo Dong Korean Restaurant

One evening, we met a few friends for a Korean dinner. Since a couple of our friends (who recommended this place) were Korean, we left most of the ordering to them. The restaurant is on Broadway, near Main St., where there used to be another Korean restaurant. Anyway, the space itself is a little hard to find, since the restaurant is actually located up a dark set of stairs. The interior is similar to many other Korean places: lots of wood, with many booths and semi-private 'rooms'.

We ordered the BBQ combo ($49.00), which came with rice cake and dumpling soup, chapchae, sashimi, assorted marinated meats, and dumplings. There was a vegetarian amongst our group, so we also ordered vegetarian bibimbap as well (alas, no picture of this). The soup arrived in a large bowl, and was very flavourful, with a delicate beef broth. There was plenty enough to share.

Ana and Kay always say that you can judge a good restaurant by the quality of their side dishes. The complimentary banchan at the restaurant was excellent. The kimchi was bracingly sour and the sprouts, potatoes and everything else was particularly tasty.

One of the best dishes that we had that night was the fried dumplings. Simply, these were the best dumplings we have had at any Korean restaurant. The outside was crispy and chewy, and the vegetarian filling was delicious.

The sashimi was good as well, though I was more excited by the other menu items.

As it often happens when I'm dining with friends, I tend to forget to take pictures. Here I only remembered after all the meat had been cooked! The meat was very well marinated and had great flavour. Nothing really beats cooking our own meat at the table.

Finally, there came a sweet rice water at the end of the meal. It was a little to sweet for me, but it was still pleasant.

We were lucky to have the inside scoop on this place. This is probably one of the better Korean restaurants in Metro Vancouver. We will definitely be back.

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