Dreaming on Chantix. Plus, Answers to Reader Questions, Including Some Nifty Geology.

Yeah, I meant to have waterfalls ready for ye, and then I fell asleep. I’m not sure if massive sleeping will be a side effect of Chantix or if it’s just a result of finally having time off after a strenuous trip to Oregon. I can tell you, after my first dose of Chantix, that sleeping is far more interesting than it used to be.

The dreams… well, they’re not quite Technicolor yet, but they’re as detailed as those I used to have when I was writing fiction regularly. They’ve not been violent, as some folks report – mine have been along the lines of geologic field trips. No wonder I’m still tired when I wake up, right? One that I remember had a big group of various geobloggers and coworkers headed up to Erratic Rock State Natural Site, and we attempted to have a picnic until we decided the hilltop was too hot and exposed. Also, the state was doing some improvements, including new paved trails and a nifty new informational sign, so the area was a little torn up. As we were rounding up kids and gathering food, I snapped a photo of it to read later, then my friend Anthony came by with a bag of green olives. He poured me out some, including juice, and I could taste them. So much for the morons who claim you can’t taste anything in dreams: you can, and I haven’t even needed to take Chantix to do it. That glazed donut that one time remains a fond memory. Mmm, yeasty bread and sugar!

Anyway. Yeah. So it’s mostly been geologic excursions, but I also had one where Starspider and I went to point and laugh at some Islamic creationists with the local skeptics group. They played a song, which was a mix of Arabic and English, and had the lyrics scrolling on a screen beside them. Unfortunately, the bastards didn’t translate the Arabic bits, although they’d transliterated it (in Arabic-style font, mind you: kinda curly and fancy, hard to read whilst scrolling). But it’s interesting, looking back, to know I was seeing Arabic as well as English, and some of those were Arabic words I knew, like Allah. Someone once told me you can’t read in dreams, either. They’re full of shit. I’ve done it often.

The Islamic creationists may have been hideous at science, but they were damned good musicians. Very catchy song, excellent beat, and quite fun. One of the verses was asking how people could worship someone as lame as Jesus and said how much cooler Islam is, which made me LOL. At the end of the presentation, I was going to get in line to meet them and say that they have much better music than Christian creationists, but that’s all they have going for them, then decided against as the line was long and it wasn’t that important.

So that’s it. That’s Chantix so far. I’m enjoying the dreams enough that I have a suspicion I’ll be sleeping more than I should. I’ll try not to let that interfere with blogging. Much. As far as other side effects: none. No nausea, no life-threatening skin conditions, no other problems. Still smoking, but it takes about a week before the drug starts doing its thing. We’ll see if the urge is reduced once the dosage goes up on Tuesday.

Because reading about other people’s dreams is boring, I’ll take this opportunity to answer a few reader questions.

Hotshoe said on my “I’m Back” post, “Hey, cool rocks. What I want to know is did you find the geocache?”

We didn’t, on account of not looking, but the gentleman looking for it did. You can see him to the right in this photo, looking for it:

Geocaching bystander at Erratic Rock State Natural Site.

Poor Lockwood was about to fall over by that point. Comes to that, so was I.

RQ said in the answer to the geologic riddle, “Wow, yay us smarty-pants, do we get a prize? Like another riddle or something? :)”

I have got another riddle coming. Lockwood and I are still mulling over how to present it, but yes, you will have another riddle. Probably more than one, as I sort through various adventures with riddles in mind.

In the same thread, F asks, “Do we have any idea when the stratum this was found in was formed and and under what conditions?”

Lockwood certainly does, and I’ll have him answer in some detail. I’m not sure of the age – I believe he said it was formed around the Pleistocene. This is on Quartzville Drive, and we’ll have a map as soon as I can dragoon Cujo into making one. We’ve got mileage and stuff: it’s 11.2 miles from Green Peter Dam, and would have been an early stop if we hadn’t missed it on the way in. We dropped by at the end of the day, when we were all exhausted and not thinking clearly. The outcrop is listed in the field trip guide (item 17) as “a roadcut in which sandstone, siltstone, and volcanic material are exposed as bedded units. Note the eastward dip of the beds. At the east end of the roadcut the sedimentary sequence is overlain by a basalt flow. The black layer which separates the two units is a paleosoil horizon which was baked by the heat of the basalt flow. This soil zone contains some petrified wood fragments.” They got the sandstone, siltstone, and volcanic material all right, but that massive stone above isn’t basalt – it’s a debris flow. It is manifestly a debris flow. Which means the wood was already burnt when it was buried, possibly in a forest fire. So you’ve got a paleosol with large trees growing in it, which were burned, and then a massive debris flow buried them before they could rot away. Silica got down in that charcoal and turned it into something seriously hard. The whole outcrop lithified, and the debris flow is solid enough now that some experienced geologists have mistaken it for a lava flow. Kinda nifty!

And, finally, on the Derpy Caturday post in which I mentioned I’d thrown over blogging for scrubbing shiny rocks whilst watching classic Doctor Who, Aliasalpha asks, “What stories did you watch?”

Lessee. I watched “Colony in Space” the first night, then “The Curse of Peladon.” You may notice “The Daemons” and “Day of the Daleks” missing – that’s because either Channel 9 didn’t broadcast them, or my DVR forgot to record them, not sure which. I’ll catch up later.

Impressions: while the special effects are atrocious, and the storytelling is sometimes, ah, how shall I put this… not all that could be hoped for, I absolutely adore Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. Out of all the classic Doctors I’ve seen, he’s by far my favourite. He’s the first who’s made me feel that I’m actually watching Doctor Who, that this is the Doctor, and that I pay almost undivided attention to. Granted, I’ve been scrubbing rocks, but I don’t need to focus on that. I can sorta feel my way around them with the toothbrush whilst I watch.

As far as Three’s companions… I bloody miss Liz Shaw. Favorite. Companion. Ever. Okay, so Jamie was awesome, no argument there, but Jo Grant is driving me nuts. She’s starting to grow on me a bit, but I adored Liz from the moment she appeared, and I wish she’d had a longer run. It was nice to have someone calm, competent, and science-savvy running about with the Doctor, and so often giving him a look that said, “I cannot believe you are that much of an outrageous idiot.” Glorious!

I can’t wait until Sarah Jane Smith appears on the scene. I hadn’t realized she started off with Three. Woot! Two of my favoritest in the same place!!!

And, it appears, I’ll still be scrubbing rocks when we get to her episodes. Some of the dirt on these quartz samples is determined to stay put. Sigh. Ah, well, it’s worth it to bring out the sparkles. Sparkles is how you hook innocent folk on geology. Perfect lure. And it allows me to claim that my Doctor Who watching is actually work, doncha know. Shh. Don’t tell anyone it’s actually recreation.