BlockBuster Dreams

Tiger from San Diego Wild Animal Park
Tiger from San Diego Wild Animal Park

Science shows us that dreams fit a very important function. They keep our mind active while we sleep. The human brain does not really ever shutdown. It’s always active, sort of like a power plant. If the brain were to completely shutdown, there would be no way for it activate again. You can think of it as like a computer going into sleep mode, ;).

Dreams are fascinating though, because there are theories that dreams serve more of a purpose then just keeping the brain active. Some say that dreams are a window to the subconscious. The crap that we don’t deal with does seem to come up in my dreams. They could be fears, pain, happy memories, and many other things. People spend a lot of time trying to understand dreams and it can be difficult to do so.

This morning I had two dreams that I remember. We had a cat that looked like a tiger, like the one in the picture above, only in a  house cat size. The second dream had a reoccurring theme, one that I am sometimes loathe to experience. It returned me to a time when I still had a job, one that wasn’t really good.

I worked for Blockbuster Video for almost 10 years. When I started, it was a good job and it was a fun place to work. Viacom eventually sold the company as the internet reared its ugly head. They knew something was coming, lol! Yes the internet broke Blockbuster Video, but ultimately it was the people in charge that led to bankruptcy of the company.  It wasn’t a happy job in the end.

I was transferred to a store where the store manager eventually wanted to get rid of me. He was certainly not a nice guy, at least to me, but part of it was all the pressure to sell, sell, sell, I’m sure. Mangers were under a lot of pressure. This was something that I was reminded of when I had my final dream of the morning.

I was back in a Blockbuster store. I have some strange Blockbuster exam that I had to finish that was a take home test. I hadn’t finished it, but it was no matter. I was supposed to do my job now and the test had to wait. In the dream I am reunited with an old “friend” from high school who never worked for Blockbuster in real life! She visits my dreams very rarely these days, though she used to be more frequent years ago. The manager wasn’t happy with my work and then begins the uncomfortable part. In this case, I defend myself, feeling that I’m being picked on unfairly. I try to do my job better, but nothing seems to help.

The dream is a reminder of how I felt working for the company during the last year I was employed there. I lost my job unfairly, I was supposed to be transferred, but that never happened. I suppose it worked out fine, you won’t see a Blockbuster Video store anywhere now. I would have lost my job eventually. Still, it affects me to this day, even though it’s been about 5 years since. It wasn’t the worst dream I ever had, but Blockbuster dreams can sometimes be painful. The happy ones are nice, even though they are few and far between.

Haha, it used to be strange to be complimented on my work. Now that I am working at the hardiness lab at the University of California, Irvine, the atmosphere is much different. The lab leader called me awesome for some research I did to help on a study we’re developing. It’s certainly much nicer than being told you suck!

The negative experiences from working at Blockbuster do tend to make me want to avoid retail employment like the plague. I’m job hunting, have been for the last several months, but now I’m looking in new places. My position at the lab is volunteer work, but it’s good experience. It could lead to a paid job or a foot in the door to a PhD program. I sometimes worry about entering another work environment like the one I had when I worked for Blockbuster. You never know, but you still have to take a chance. Besides, retail usually sucks anyway. 😉

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New Career Change: Journalism!

For those of you who know me, you might say that I can be indecisive. I decide to do one thing and sometimes I change my mind. I probably do that more often than I am willing to admit. Looking back, I remember wanting to be several things over the decades: musician, actor, writer, cop, therapist, and news reporter. Today the journalism bug bit me again. It’s something that comes and goes, much like writing was until I committed to it. Now I write just about every day. I’m not always writing my short stories and novels, but I do have a journal that I write in daily. Of course, I can’t forget all the research papers I’ve had to write!

This blog is a great place for me to practice my writing, yet I tend to neglect this site! I blame Xbox for that and my need to get all the achievements in Perfect Dark and Gears of War. I know, excuses! Well, I am glad that I have been making more progress in The Lost Elf book 3. It got me thinking, I can sit down and write for a couple of hours straight when I’ve got a groove going. I’ve always thought writing as a career would be perfect for me, but I always focused on novels and fiction. I think it’s time that I consider non-fiction. Having a degree in psychology (soon to be two) means that I could look for work in psychology as a journalist. I’m also thinking about obtaining a journalism degree. Having some writing classes under my belt is helpful, including technical writing, so it doesn’t sound crazy.

It’s been a challenge for me to pinpoint a specific career that is a good fit. I tend to throw out ideas to see if something sticks. However, for the first time ever I seem to have a better direction. Once I have my masters degree, I can become a psychology professor. I want to teach online. This will allow me to pursue other interests. So who knows what will happen, maybe I’ll be a psychology journalist. Those do exist right? (Yes, yes they do).

Prejudice

I am struck by how powerful negative messages can be when they appease entitlement or false beliefs. Just thinking about the concept of believing in a superior religion, sex, or ethnicity feels strange to me. Biology and genetics have been used to try to prove a superior type of human, namely the white man. One can say this is out of ignorance, but there must be more to it. When Europeans first discovered the African content, they saw the native Africans as  inferior.

Religion, philosophy, and science have been twisted by man throughout history. This is why I believe it is important to be a skeptic. Even so, skepticism is not fool-proof. After reading Even the Rat Was White: A historical View of Psychology, by Robert V. Guthrie, I learned that even psychology has a racist past. Science is not protected from false ideology or false belief. I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose. I learned a lot from the book about where psychology started, an account that you do not usually find in the typical psychology textbook. In part this is because we don’t like to remember the negative experiences of the past.

I feel that the most important message from the book is that diversity is crucial to a healthy society. Now, this is not literally stated, but the book shows how science was stymied from racist assumptions. The attempt of a  lot of white scientists to “prove” the inferiority of African-Americans is likely based on their homogenous upbringing. I would hope that most people today would be appalled at such a notion as one race being inferior. When a person grows up in a homogenous environment, they can form judgements or beliefs that are inaccurate or false. That is why I think diversity is so important and why I am happy to see the U.S. population changing in a more diverse direction. Hopefully that will lead to a more diverse representation in government and the private sector.

Racism, homophobia, and sexism still exist in the U.S. and the world. However, diversity presents us with an opportunity to reduce prejudice. I think that part of why racism was so strong in this country was due to old beliefs based on white superiority. It was also supported by beliefs about heredity being stronger than environment and that European white heredity was superior to other ethnicities. The history of science is not pretty, but that is due to white men who twisted science to fit their own beliefs. Thanks to the effort of African-American men and women, psychology made an important shift away from racist beliefs. You should really read Even the Rate Was White if you want to learn more about the contribution of African-Americans to psychology.

I believe humans to be naturally progressive. Most of us want to grow and improve ourselves. While some do not like societal change, we really don’t have that choice. Society shifts and changes naturally. We can change and improve society through progressive values. What was so inspiring to me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was his inclusive language. He wanted everyone to come together and fight against injustice. After all, equality is ingrained in the constitution of the United States, even if back then it meant equality for white men and no one else. We can decide to interpret the constitution as proclaiming equality to all people no matter who we are.

We cannot help who we are or who we love. More and more people, specifically of the younger generations, believe this. That is the hope we have to eliminate prejudice. While it may take time, I believe it is possible to live in a world without prejudice and discrimination.