Dream: Room 17

I feel like blogging my dreams is sort of frivolous, but it’s also an interesting exercise in a kind of writing I don’t usually do. So: I had two interesting dreams last night. I remember waking up from the first one thinking it was interesting and significant, but I went back to sleep and forgot the actual dream.
The second dream began with a friend showing me a hidden entrance to a nondescript Berkeley building. I went inside and found that the interior of the building was a setting for an elaborate puzzle game. Each room of the building contained a puzzle based around some eclectic collection of objects; there were 20 such rooms/puzzles and I was given a limited time to complete them all. There was a sheet of paper on which I kept track of which ones I’d completed. (Maybe including the answers to the puzzles, which would solve some overall puzzle when the whole thing was done? My memory of what was on the paper in the dream is hazy.)
Anyway, I’m pretty sure I dreamed multiple rooms of this, and fast-forwarded through most of them, but at some point I arrived at room #17 (having finished the first sixteen) with some extra time on the clock. Room 17 contained a stereo cassette player and a stack of 20 cassette tape cases, none of which contained cassettes. The covers were all for classical music; I specifically remember Beethoven and Schubert among the composers, and no composer appeared twice.
The actual cassettes were in a box nearby, but the labels had been removed and replaced with small handwritten numbers from 1 to 20. The puzzle, obviously, was to match the tapes to their proper case by listening to them. So I started going through them one by one, trying to identify composer or at least time period by the musical style, and looking for pieces that I recognized.
This was a slow process, and I became aware that time was slipping away. I was debating whether to skip ahead to Room 18, in the hopes of finishing the later puzzles and coming back for this one, when I woke up.
So it was sort of anti-climactic, but I thought it was interesting that my dream came up with at least one realistic and difficult but possibly doable puzzle. And I was quickly able to think of a very specific interpretation for this dream, but there is probably some bias on my part towards reading things this way. So other interpretations are welcome.

12 thoughts on “Dream: Room 17

  1. Mason

    I think frivolous writing is among the best kind of literature (and creative writing, for that matter). It can be very, very fun.
    As for interpretations, maybe you just want to catalog your music collection. :)

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    Oh, don’t get me started. I’ve never found a satisfying way to use the “Genre” field in ID3 tags. Do I use broad categories like “Rock”, “Electronica”, “Soundtrack”? Or narrow categories like “Freak Folk” and “Shoegazer”? Right now I’m just using the defaults for the iTMS and CDDB, which are woefully inadequate.
    CDs are in alphabetical order by artist right now, except I ran out of room in my CD racks and am stacking them randomly until I acquire more. (But they’re in the correct cases!)

  3. Mason

    I always thought Matt Sullivan’s organizing his CDs by country of origin was cool—not that I would recommend it, but I’ve never seen anyone else do it.
    Given your response to this post, I am even more confident in my interpretation of your dream. :)

  4. Arcane Gazebo

    That’s an interesting approach. The main motivation for using the genre field is that it’s the top level in the Browse mode of iTunes. Organizing by country would make it very easy to find bands like Dungen (Sweden) or M.I.A. (Sri Lanka). But most would go in U.S., U.K., or Canada. I could refine this by labeling bands in those three countries by city; usually I have a good memory for this, but occasionally it would make things more difficult. New York and Glasgow would be somewhat crowded categories under this scheme…

  5. Mason

    I never bother making any special libraries in iTunes, and it’s too much of a bother for me to go through the genres to do this. I typically just randomize through the whole library and advance through any song I’m not in the mood for (or select a specific song that does strike my mood). Or I go and listen to one album or something if I’m in the mood for that.
    There are certainly times for which I can envision making a sublibrary (say, for a party), but I never bother.

  6. Arcane Gazebo

    With the genre field I’m just after faster access to specific songs and albums. For my main playlist I use a different system based on ratings. Every song that’s been in the library longer than five weeks gets a rating of 2-5 stars (1 star being reserved for marking non-music tracks) and I have a scheme of smart playlists that selects songs based on their ratings and how long ago they last played.
    But I didn’t have any songs awaiting rating assignment (in the “Older Unrated” playlist) when I had that dream, so clearly it wasn’t about that. :)
    Although if I did have good genre labeling, I could presumably use this to generate interesting Smart Playlists. Maybe do it by mood, but a tagging system in the “comment” or “description” field would be better for this.
    Ok, I probably spend a bit too much time thinking about maintenance of my iTunes library.

  7. Lemming

    Do you take commissions to do other people’s iTunes library? I know my iTunes library is a complete trainwreck.
    Of course, I suppose you wouldn’t give ratings I approve of to songs like The Moose Song, which is clearly a work of fine art.

  8. Lanth

    I have to second the “what the heck do I do with this?” about the genre field. My problem is, I can think of too many interesting things to do with it, so I can’t decide which one is worth the effort (mood? emotional topic? lyrical topic? source?).
    On the subject of dreams, I had a very frustrating one. I dreamed we moved into a room (sort of like Mikemike and Tim’s spare room) that was covered, wall to ceiling, in cubbyholes of various sizes. I was understandably thrilled, and spent most of the dream trying to decide how to organize my pots and pans in the cubbyholes. Then I woke up and was very disappointed. On the bright side, I didn’t have to pack.

  9. lidarose

    Lemming: I was at a concert last weekend and heard The Moose Song for the first time…could this be the same one you refer to? The group was “Girly Man”…
    Lanth: I love that — “…understandably thrilled…” and the image of the cubbyholes, pots and pans… very amusing…
    …and as far as organizing music goes, I haven’t really got a good system for my audiotapes and cds yet, so I don’t think I’m ready to graduate to iTunes!

  10. Lemming

    The mp3 I have is by “Wilde Mountain Thyme”, but I don’t know much past that. Suffice to say, the song is rather inappropriate, in a blunt and silly fashion. Moving on before I get clobbered.
    Lanth–what you really need is a room with those sliding library shelves, but free to move on a grid. You can really maximize the cubbyhole/floorspace ratio that way. And I agree with lidarose’s assesment of “understandably thrilled.”
    I actually had a dream last night… Mike^2, AG and I were hunting these giant/monster things. Think MMORPG Shadow of the Colossus. Anyway, the three of us are planning to take on a particularly nasty baddie hanging out in some ruins in a wasteland (strong elements of Diablo II: Act 2 and Tahrongi Canyon), but Mike^2 and AG were way too slow crossing the dunes. I was there already, running in a panic from cover to cover and occasionally taking a pot shot here and there. Eventually I killed the giant, got enough XP by soloing it to ding (I could feel myself getting stronger!), and managed to tick off the other two for not waiting for them. We had a mini-flamewar (good-hearted tho) over party chat (we just talked aloud and could hear each other), and the darn thing respawns behind me.
    Lather, rinse, repeat, wake up late for work.
    I got some mad loot too, you guys lose. Your fault for holding up the party!

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