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Imperceptions

Posted 2013.04.01 10.33 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

Yesterday afternoon, I was driving up to my folks’ house for easter dinner. It was early afternoon, overcast, and started to rain. I was dead tired and had a headache which, combined with the dullness of the day, made it ever so slightly hard to focus.

That’s when I noticed all my eye-floaters had congregated into the middle of my vision. They had taken on a bunch of sort-of sharp, angular forms. In fact they looked a lot like runic symbols. And they were all lined up like they were forming words. A sentence.

I’ve had eye-floaters for as long as I can remember. And I’ve known what they are for so long, I don’t remember learning it. They’ve never come as a surprise to me, although at times they are a bit of an aggravation.

And I seem to have a heck of a lot of them. A few dozen? Now and then I’ve tried figuring out if they’re in one eye or the other, but I’ve never been able to isolate them, so I suspect they’re in both.

Anyhow, so I’m driving, it’s already grey and dreary out, light rain is starting to blur up the windscreen (where it’s not quite  wet enough to make the wipers effective, but not dry enough to ignore), and now my eye-floaters seem to be trying to spell out acrane messages to me.

At the same time I notice my tinnitus is going. When it acts up, and there’s background ‘white noise’, my brain often seems to try and sort the random stimulus into something intelligible, so wind can start to sound like there’s music or voices in it.

So now not only am I seeing messages inside my eyeballs but between the tinnitus and the sounds of wind and rain against the car, I’m hearing whispers inside my ears. To be honest, it made me laugh a little at first.

Then I got thinking – most of the time, the floaters are barely there. Always just noticable but equally ignorable. What if they’re always spelling out words and messages, but this was just the first time I’ve noticed it?

Wouldn’t that be a great way to send subliminal messages? Right inside the eyeballs? So everywhere you look, whatever you’re doing, even if you blink, there’s always those subliminal messages happening.

Same thing for the tinnitus. Turn up the high pitched whistle inside my ear, and now indistinct background noise suddenly starts resolving into half-heard music or whispers, to be dismissed or tuned out, but unable to be turned off. Another ideal portal for subliminal messaging.

The tinnitus has only been around for 20-years or so, while the eye-floaters have been with me more or less ‘forever’.

All this flashed through my head in a matter of seconds. Still driving along, now I’m thinking – if we are the sum of our experiences, and our experiences are a result of our perceptions filtered through previous experiences… and all this has been going on for ever… then what?

Could my ongoing depression and inability to do anything to fix it just a side-affect of some negative or destructive messages, subliminally delivered through my eyeballs and eardrums?

All those little self-destructive impulses, the dissenting inner-voices / internal dialog, the ones I call my little sabateurs, what if they’re being controled and manipulated through subliminal messages in my eye-floaters and tinnitus? What if they aren’t mine at all, what if my little sabateurs are the subliminal messages themselves?

Then who’s sending them?

So then that makes me think about demons and posession, and that in turn makes me think that maybe I’m really just crazy, because really that’s just the simplest answer.

In the end, I don’t know. I had a huge sense of dread about the whole excursion. It was hard leaving the house, I spent too long saying bye to the kitties as if I was worried about not making it back home.

But I did – there weren’t even any close calls, unless you count the whole tired / headache / vision-obscured-by-runic-messages-while-driving thing.

Hacking My Brain

Posted 2011.04.03 21.19 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I just built a Brain Machine kit from Adafruit. Originally designed by Mitch Altman, it reminded me of a bio-feedback brain device I had built some 20-25 years ago, after reading about it in a issue of Radio Electronics magazine.

The basic premise in both cases is that you can guide the brain to synchronize with external stimuli oscillating at a rate that matches one of the brain’s normal wave patterns – Beta (awake / consious), Alpha (dreamy / trancy), Theta (subconsious), Delta (creative), Gamma (intense thought, problem solving).

The Brain Machine is designed so that you can program it with an entire sequence of patterns, changing the waves and durations as desired for a given program purpose. The kit comes with a 14 minute meditation program already written to the microcontroller.

The stimulus given to the brain is in the visual and auditory areas, by way of two red LEDs (one per eye) and a set of standard stereo headphones. The LEDs alternate-pulse at the desired brain-wave frequency while the left and right speakers of the headphones each play a different tone; the offset between the tones (binaural beats) is also the desired brain-wave frequency.

Personally, I found the headphones a bit distracting so I won’t use them as much. Maybe it’s just me but I only experienced the ‘binaural beat’ thing a couple isolated moments, otherwise I just heard two different (slightly annoying) tones. Useful for blocking out external noises, but my home is already a quiet environment, usually.

Using the brain machine is… trippy. I would love to be able to share images of what I saw, but in lieu of that, here are some attempts at describing a few moments.

  • Predominantly I experienced a lot of geometric patterns that were repeated infinitely across my field of view; waves of triangles, squares, pentagonal and hexagonal forms. Sometimes superimposed, eg. my left eye was seeing hexagons while my right was seeing pentagons.
  • Then it was like floating through outer space, surrounded by stars. While flying through a meteor shower. With TRON special-effects. As viewed through a kaliedescope.
  • I became able to see the individual cells of my own eyelids.
  • Then I could see the electrons travelling through my optic nerves, all buzzing about in frantic bio-feedback.
  • Then everything fell away and I could see the entire Milky Way galaxy above me, moving in accelerated time.

It’s amazing just how many colours you can actually experience, given that the only colour used is red. I was seeing blue, green, purple, red, and white, and to a lesser degree, yellow and orange.

After taking a couple trips with the default meditation program, I am thinking it would be cool to create a bunch of different programs. The ATTiny25 chips are inexpensive so you could actually burn a number of them, each with a different program. Then just pop in the one you want at the moment, and let it run.

You could have a chip/program to get your mind stimulated and ready to work; a program for relaxing at the end of the day; a program to get the creative juices flowing; a program to just bounce from one waveform to the next to give your brain a slamming roller-coaster ride. Feed your brain various programs, and see what happens.

Trippy.

Dingoo Mod – to the EXTREEEM!

Posted 2010.06.02 18.32 in Computers/Internet/Technology

For no really good reason, I had to mod a Dingoo A320 with a memory upgrade. The 320 has 32MB of RAM, but the A330 has 64MB of RAM. IMHO the A320 has more going for it, fewer glitches, than the 330. But the 330 has more memory…

So you can see how I’d already be vaguely thinking about it. Then over on Dingoonity, a user named flaming_goat asked if it would be possible. Well you know there’s no turning back after that…

I read up on the chips in the 330, and the chips in the 320. I checked my 320 to see how it was wired. It looked feasable. None of my tests said it would fail, so the only way to know for sure was to try it.

DigiKey had the chips I wanted and they were only about $12.50 for a pair of them. No turning back now…

Detailed instructions follow below the fold…

Read more »

Alien Brain Worms

Posted 2009.03.31 13.50 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

I’ve mentioned the brain worms, the alien remote control, and the demons before. I was talking about CAT scans and how none of the above were likely to show up. What I’m thinking about now is, how do these things come into play. And let me quickly point out that I’m using these things metaphorically – I’m reasonably certain that there are not actually worms, tiny aliens, or demons in my noggin.

Anyhow, what I’m wondering about is this: Frequently I’ll make my mind up to do (or not do) something because I know (intellectually, logically) that whatever it is I’ve chosen is the “right” thing to do. Whatever “it” is, could be I decided not to have wine with dinner, or decided not to have desert, or decided not to buy that expensive-but-super-cool technological jiggery-pokery toy. 

So I’ve made the decision, I know it’s right. And yet… there is this constant nagging, this wheeling and dealing, trying to make me change my mind, trying to talk me into doing the ‘wrong’ thing. It doesn’t let up. It is very persistent and persuasive. It even employs trickery and con-artistry at times.

What the hell is it, and where does it come from? If I make up my mind, what’s in there trying to reverse the decision? This disturbs me on many levels.

If I decide to do “A” and then “B” keeps popping up in my head, trying to entice me directly, or even trying to trick me into it… what?  What is it?! Why? I mean — why can’t I make my mind up and that’s the end of it? If “I” am trying to trick “me” then who am “I”?

I’m not talking about hearing voices – this is all just mental train-of-thought processes:

I’m not going to buy a new NNNN, I don’t need it, it’s too expensive, and I already have plenty. I need coffee whitener, I’ll just pop round the corner to the 7-11. You know, they also sell NNNNs at the 7-11. Yeah but their NNNN’s are overpriced and sucky. The NNNN’s at YYYYY are way better.  Wait, shut up! I don’t want a NNNN.  I’m going to the A&P, they sell coffee-whitener and they don’t sell NNNN. I could go to the A&P up at the other plaza, there’s a YYYYY up there and they sell NNNN. Wait no, I don’t want an NNNN. Just coffee whitener is all I need. (fastforward 10 minutes) How the hell did I end up at YYYYY? Hmm you know, these really are nice NNNN…

That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. Just a line of thoughts running along, trying to steer me to do something that’s not ultimately in my best interest. Nothing instantly bad of course, and frequently there’s short-term fun to be had, but in the long-term, it’s not good.

Is that just me? Does this happen to other people? It makes me feel like I’m not entirely in control of myself.

Alien Brain Worm with Remote Control

But if I’m not in control, then who or what is? I’ll try and explore this more later… right now I’ve got to sneak out of work and buy some more NNNN.

Demonic Alien Brain-Sucking Space Worms

Posted 2009.03.12 0.00 in Pointless Blather

Just say no.

Rambling

Posted 2009.03.10 0.00 in Pointless Blather

So much going on, so little posting about it.

So I had a CAT scan last week. (CAT scan? CT scan? Whatever it was, no cats were harmed in the process.) They fed me into a giant whining machine and examined my head – a process which some will feel was long overdue.

The head-exam was ostensibly to see if there is a cause to the short sharp stabbing headaches I have been getting in the back of my head. It feels a lot like someone stabbing the back of my head, but when I check there’s noone there, so it could be a medical thing. I can’t help but wonder, however, what else they might find. Certainly there’s lots of things that it would be interesting to explain – could they find a reason for….
  •  my depression?
  •  my insomnia?
  •  the constant ringing in my ears?
  •  my sometimes-‘quirky’ behavior?
  •  my prosopagnosia?
  •  the odd compulsions I get sometimes?
  •  the occasional self-destructive tendancies?
  •  the way I don’t feel like I relate to anyone and don’t understand normal human emotions or behavior?
  •  any of the other neuological oddities I’ve presented over the last 20 – 25 years?

Or will they find….nothing at all?

I know, ha-ha-ha they looked in my head and there was nothing there. Seriously though, for most of the other problems I’ve got, they can’t find any explanation. So why would any of this be different? Short stabbing headaches in the back of my head, might just be a normal natural thing for me. Who knows?

But then, if they do find something what will it be? A tumor? A mystrious ‘dark area’ that they can’t explain? Demons? A tiny alien controlling me? Worms?

Then I wonder, if they do find something, who’s to say they will tell us? The way these things work here is a technician runs the machine, he sees the pictures but is not allowed to tell the patient/subject what he sees and the patient/subject is not allowed to see the pictures. The pictures then go to an ‘expert’ who looks at them, and without any direct access or information from the patient, the ‘expert’ decides how to interpret the pictures. Then they type up a written report and send that to the doctor, so the doctor also doesn’t see the pictures. Then the doctor reads the report and files it away then tells the patient (paraphrases) what was in the report. At any step along the way, they could just decide there’s nothing noteworthy. So if there are demons or tiny aliens or worms or a mysterious dark patch, they could just say there’s nothing, or it’s inconclusive. So if the report is that there’s nothing, or it’s inconclusive, how do I know that’s really the case? It’s quite possible that the tech or the ‘expert’ is in on it!

Realisticly though, what do I hope they find / what do I want to learn? I mean, if it’s a tumor (or demons or aliens or worms) then what? This is a whole different philosophical area for me. What makes me, me? If I am who I am because of some wierdness going on in my noggin, then if they fix the wierdness will I still be me?

Being me has some downsides (see the list above) but there are some cool things too, I think. Would I risk losing the good things, to get rid of the bad? That’s a question I don’t have an answer to. Though if I had to make a snap decision, right now I’d probably say no. Take the good and the bad together and stick with what I know.

So in that case, then what’s really at stake is not fixing things, but just understanding them – getting the why’s. And ultimately I think that is what I’m about – understanding, learning.

There – I feel better now, I’ve resolved something. Take care, be well, stay sane.