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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

DREAM: Salvador Dalai Lama

I think I was at my parents' house, but I can't remember them specifically. I can't even remember or describe the setting too well except I know there were other people there who were behaving antagonistically toward me. Some of these people were younger, in their 20s possibly. Other people may have been my parents, but I can't remember exactly what was done or said. The part I remember a little better was sitting at a long dining room table while the wind blew outside, and two men, one who resembled the Dalai Lama, were evaluating me (on a clinical/psychological level). You know at the eye doctor's when the doctor tells you to look at his pencil, he moves it around and watches how your eyes track it? That's similar to what was happening, except these guys never told me to watch their pencil or finger movements or anything, I was just watching them anyway and they were writing down what I was doing. I remember brightly colored pencils and grids on paper like plaid. It was most disturbing. I was getting very upset. Next, I remember being with someone I trusted, possibly it was Stan. There was another man there as well, maybe half Stan's age or a little older...white, light brown hair, average height/nondescript but good looking. He seemed to authentically take an interest in me. I was walking with both of them holding their hands, walking down a street in a big city. A young hispanic guy passed me by and stared at me with a weird expression. He must have been perplexed why I was holding the hand of two guys. I gave this guy a "fuck off" expression. Then we went into a building. This is all very jumbled up, and I can't remember exactly what was happening, but I remember being in a VERY big room with a bunch of older women mostly. It gave me a different kind of feeling than being at my parents' house, more accepting. Again, I was sitting at a large table. There is a sprinkler going outside and it is sprinkling water up against a screen door which sounds like wind. This disturbs me because it reminds me of the wind at my parents' house in the first part of the dream. I tell Stan to please turn the sprinkler off because it sounds like wind. I know these dreams were much more intense than I can remember with any coherence, because when I woke up my face was completely soaked with tears.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

DREAM: Man wth Toolbox

Weird dream sensation this AM while listening to WPR. IRL I hear a noise that sounded like the next door neighbor's garage door being shut. This house is for sale and has been vacant since the beginning of the year, a sign of the slowing real estate economy (this house has had many owners, but never has it been empty). IRL I stay in bed and doze back into dreamland, but my surreal dreamself went to look out the window to see who it was. I see a man squeeze through the neighbor's fence and then stand in front of our garage door. He was white, bald, maybe a little older than me. He had a very large toolbox with him the size of a suitcase (but definitely a toolbox). Then he walked around to the side of our garage that faces the alley. Our alley turned into a busier street and people would drive by and stare at our garage...I figured they were staring at this man and he must be doing something odd to warrant staring. I also assumed that he squatted in our neighbor's garage every night and then left to go work in the morning. But I was wondering what he was doing by our garage. Was he also using our garage (storage shed, was made for small cars back in the early part of the 20th century) for something? I decided I'd better go out and make sure our garage was padlocked. As I went outside, the exterior of my house changed to my parent's house, except naturally it was bigger than my parents' house. I don't know what happened to the man.


Friday, February 23, 2007

DREAM: My New York Home

Most dreams have horrible aspects to them that make me glad "it was only a dream" when I wake up. However, the last part of this dream was wonderful...I want to go back.

The first part I was in my parent's house specifically my former bedroom upstairs. I was looking at the ceiling above the door. It was busted up and I could see a pipe--plumber's pipe (there'd be no reason to have a pipe up there IRL). I kept thinking, "this is weird, because in dreams I look at the ceiling in this bedroom and it is crumbling or is busted" but I didn't realize that *this* was a dream too. Lucid dreamer I am not.

In the second part of the dream, I am trying on odd clothes...weird plastic yellow jackets and large bulky pants. I am getting ready for halloween, however I have no idea what I am supposed to be dressed as. At this point, I am in contact with some people and I'm asking them if I could get the house in New York state where I lived as a kid from 1969-1971. Later, I am driving by that house in New York, and I see some guys kicking some people out of it. I assume I am with Stan in the dream, but I don't know. We stop at the house and we ask what is going on. The guys (who are maybe in their mid-30s and speak with a heavy upstate New York accent, which is similar to a nasal version of a upper midwest accent) tell me they were getting the house ready for me and evicting the current occupants. I was in awe. The house was much bigger than it is IRL, painted white, with a red door (it was bayberry green when I lived there, and when we drove by it on our trip out east in 2002 it had been painted pale blue). It had lots of new additions on it in the dream. I walked into one of them, which was at garden/garage level. It was a large room like a playroom, very light colored. It had a tiled dropped ceiling to my dismay, but when I looked closer I saw that the tiles had been painted by me, 35 years ago. I am overjoyed and telling every anonymous person who was around me, "I made this!" I was especially struck how mature my art style was back then and how similar it is to my style now (which is obviously wrong). Then I go into the basement, which is much bigger than how I remember the basement IRL. Someone had lined the floor with blue plastic bags as to not get paint on it. I look at the bags and they all have a design printed on them which is very similar to a lot of my square mosaic polymer clay tile and acrylic/metal leaf pieces. I am amazed at how this house has all these fragments and references to my art. The guys who kicked out the other people are heading off in their car, and I'm trying to catch up to them to ask them what do I owe them for this. They say something like "it's all yours!" and head off. I make some kind of gesture to them, thanking them profusely as they watch me while they're driving away. I don't know what to do now, I have this house, but do I rent it? Do I pay mortgage on it? How much? Do I own it outright? And although I can live anywhere, Stan will need to find a job, but that's a small price to pay for having this big house, especially if it's all mine.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'll take the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Toothpaste, please

Our dogs' toothpaste is chicken flavored. This is to lure dogs into letting their humans swivel a prickly thing around in their mouths without them putting up too much of a fuss while they try and savor the chickeny goodness from this foreign object. Of course this is assuming that your dog likes chicken flavor. I've seen other dog breath products with minty flavoring, but dogs probably don't like that too much, unlike us humans who prefer minty, mentholy, cooling brisk mints, wash, and paste. The thing is, dogs eat "chicken" flavored, and beef and lamb flavored, and possibly other barnyard beast-flavored dog chow pretty much as a main staple like in the way we'd eat potatoes, bread, lettuce, tomatoes, or rice, what have you. But we don't have bread flavored toothpaste. Or rice flavored. Granted, that would be bland. But we don't even flavor our toothpastes with our favorite tasty flavors. There is no Cool Ranch flavored toothpaste. Or Chocolate. Neither is there Spicy Mexican, Cookie Dough, Sharp White Cheddar, Zesty Italian nor Peanutbutter and Jelly. Yet those are just some of the common favorite flavors we Americans like to eat. But spearmint? peppermint? cool cinnamint? I can't remember when I ate a food with those flavors, not even a small candy. Weird that we should think our dogs would like their teeth brushed with food-flavored paste, yet we wouldn't tolerate the flavor of mashed potatoes being swished around in our mouths to keep our teeth clean.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

An Afternoon at the Post Office

After a Postal Holiday, I had a lot of packages to ship, packages I couldn't just put out for the delivery person to pick up, mail that needed a customs form or delivery confirmation and insurance, and Stan needed to send some registered mail. We don't have a post office in our neighborhood, not a *real* one, anyway. We used to, a few blocks away. It was convenient. I used to use it all the time. Then USPS went through some kind of corporate downsizing in the early Bush era, eliminating our convenient little postal station, and put it in the convenience store next door. I can't use it anymore...first of all, they don't ship anything out of the absurd is that? Also, you have to request a receipt, and it's typically illegible. For my business I need a real bonafide USPS itemized receipt that one gets by default at any *real* post office. Using this contracted postal station is now out of the question. Plus everyone seems like they're on drugs there, drug dealers in the parking lot, drug users working in the convenience store. I stay away. Then there's the main station a couple miles away. I don't like that place for reasons I won't go into, but let's just say it's usually super crowded with long lines, the parking is bad and there's usually panhandlers in the parking lot. Recently, we discovered the next nearest post office, which is actually in Monona, is about 4 miles one way. It's now my default post office. It would be a lot closer if there was a ferry across Lake Monona, but there is none, so every time I go there, usually about every other day or so, we or I take a trip around the lake. It's not a bad drive, the road is a little rough and there's lots of traffic lights and school zones, but it's not bad. It's best if I can do it as early in the morning as possible, but usually that's not the most convenient. Today I felt like going to another post office, one in Cottage Grove, a suburb of Madison. Once you get on Cottage Grove Road, it's a straight shot going 55 most of the way, a very easy 7 miles, and much faster than going to the next closest post office in town, a whacky old stuck-in-the-60s one on the west side, which is met with horrible stop and go traffic all the way. Plus, I just felt like a ride in the country.

One nice thing about the Cottage Grove Post office is it is seldom ever busy. Easy errand, I thought. When I got to the window, I instantly recognized the postal clerk as one who gave Stan a hard time about shipping a large, heavy book via media mail but I had forgotten about that incident in the interim period. I was a bit worried she'd give me a hard time too, which she did, a bit.

"Do you work out here?" she asked me

I tried to interpret what that meant. Do I work out? No, I'm an art potato.

I asked her the question back: "Do" And then I answered myself, thinking she must mean if I work in Cottage Grove, "...No...." I wondered what she was getting at as the question seemed suspicious.

"(The Street I live on) in Madison seems like a long way to drive here," she said.

OK, what am I dealing with here, I thought. Here's someone who's clearly on the lookout for anything suspicious, because that's what her boss tells her to do, but clearly her terrorist meter is permanently set on broke and instead she's picking apart insignificant things like my home address and Stan's large book which was clearly too heavy to be a book so he really should've sent it parcel post because he was trying to get away with shipping it for the less expensive media mail...OK, I got an odd one. I'll just keep talking so she won't be able to get a word in to ask me questions, err, I mean interrogate me. So I go off on how I'm going out this direction anyway and I don't like going to the main post office and I used to have a post office in my neighborhood, blah blah blah, and I liked to take walks there..blah blah blah. Clearly, I was grasping at dead bits of conversation...anything to keep yammering so she couldn't speak, but I'm not big with the gift of gab, so by the time she got to the end of my packages and I wrote her a check, there was plenty of time for her to say,

"Can I see some ID, this is a low-numbered check." Yes, they can ask for my ID for any reason they choose when I present a check, but low-numbered? The check was in the 1500s. I'm sorry, but that's not a low-numbered check.

"Low-numbered? I've had that account for 17 years!" (Well, it was only 14 years, but I forgot I switched banks in the early 90s)

"You must use your debit card a lot," she said.

'The hell? I don't have a fucking debit card. It's just that I'm not constantly buying a lot of crap where I would be on check number 589,441 by now! "No, I just use credit cards or pay bills online," I said. Damn this woman was really annoying. Maybe she was just trying to make smalltalk. I hate smalltalk, especially when it's prying about my personal life. Small talk about the weather is fine, but let's not delve into me personal life, eh? But then the paranoid side of me thinks she's gathering this information because she thinks there's something suspicious about me coming a WHOLE 7 FRICKIN' MILES to a post office. Look, put a damn post office in my 'hood already, and I won't have to bother your nosey ass. The thing is, 7 miles is not a long way to drive to a post office *once in a while* especially when it takes almost as long to drive to one that's 4 miles away and when it's the second closest one you can really go to. I could drive to Kenosha to mail packages if I wanted to. It would be unusual, not to mention a waste of gas if I wasn't already going there, but there's no law that says you have to mail packages at the post office nearest your home. I've mailed packages 1000 miles away in Colorado with my backaddress of Madison, and I've been asked fewer questions than mailing it 7 miles away.

Anyway, just as I ran out of gas trying to ramble on so she couldn't get a word in, I've also run out of gas in the telling of this story and don't know how to conclude and wrap it up into a neat little package. So I'll leave this package unwrapped. That way, no one can accuse me of shipping something suspicious.


Meet the Press for Idiots


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Plaid, Baby.



Friday, February 16, 2007

DREAM with Bill, Gay Guys and Grandmother

I dreamt I was with Bill and we were lying in bed together. I wanted him to touch me, but he did nothing. I think it's was one of those do-over dreams where you get a second chance at it because then I remember something about a friend of his (somebody we used to know) taking him aside and talking to him. I think this person (_o_d_) told Bill that I had/have a crush on him...gave him a little pep talk, because then I remember lying in bed with Bill again, and this time he reached over and touched my shoulder near my breast. I then reached over to touch him, but something called me like a work emergency that I had to take care of, so I didn't get to play out my fantasy with Bill. Bummer.

I was driving with Stan and there were two gay guys in the backseat. I have no idea who they were. They were around our age, maybe balding or shaved, facial hair, brownhaired/light skinned, kind of chunky but not really fat, maybe glasses...just kind of average looking. We must have been in the Boston area because Stan stopped at an old house that used to be my grandparents'. We were there to pick up my grandmother (my dad's mom--she died in 1972). IRL I remember seeing her probably about a total of 4 times, probably once to visit when I was 6 or 7, then again at a wedding around the same time, then once when they visited us when we still lived in Massachusetts, and then once when we went to visit them when we lived in New York. If she was alive today, she'd probably be about 115. (stop laughing, it's not funny and I'm not being funny, I'm being serious....she'd be about 115...if she was 80 when she died, and it's been 35 my math right?). This woman who sort of looks like my grandmother gets in the car in back with the gay guys. They didn't mind, and neither did she. Here's the weird part...something was said in my dream about her being 68, which was probably the age she was when I was born...maybe 69, maybe 67. Who knows. Odd. This woman looked older than 68, though, much older. But not 115 either. She had packages, and they were presents for Stan and me. I could tell some of them were comforters in an ugly old lady style. I forgot what we did with the gay guys and my dead grandmother (now that sounds funny, you can laugh now) but I think we drove around and then came back to her house. I remember walking around the house and it was huge and gothic-looking (IRL it was an old house probably built in the Victorian era...I remember a spiral staircase with a big chunky handrail that led upstairs to their flat, and a weird odor. There were people on the first floor that were called The a kid I thought that was their last name, but IRL I assume they rented the lower floor from my grandparents, at least I *think* my grandparents owned the house...yeah, they had to have owned it) In the dream I'm walking around this house which is more like a big apartment building. The hallways are dark and there's lots of doors that I don't know where they go to. Later I remember being on the third floor (IRL, that was the attic, which I never parents never allowed me to see their parents' attics). I think the gay guys were with us...maybe that's where they lived. The bathroom toilet started spontaneously overflowing, not from someone using it, but from some weird sewer backwash. It was this black goo...not poo, but sticks and dirt. Outdoor organic matter. I was afraid it would overflow into the second story below, which is where I thought my grandmother lived. Later, I figured out she lived on the first floor (in dreamland only however) so the overflowing toilet wouldn't affect her. In a way, it was a good thing that my grandmother visited me in this dream even though we never really knew eachother, and despite the horrible things her daughter-in-law has said about her.


Postscript to Below

Update: I just received a call from Company ABC in reply to my phone message (which, in case you are wondering, was very professional, serious, and nothing like this bitchy journal post...this is why I have this journal, so I can VENT in a way I can't do in business). The young man on the other end was VERY nice and professional and friendly and nothing at all like their snippy-sounding voice message gal (they really should change that--instead of "Just a minute!" they should change it to "one moment please" or something calmer). He explained that some server of theirs was down, which is why they didn't even receive my order, and apologized for it. He also charged me for only one plugin upgrade (although I did order two) as a courtesy. He was very pleasant, as was I back.

Let me take this time to talk about freebie apologies. When someone messes up my order, apologizes, and then sends me freebies, I think it's super. All they really owe me is an apology and then a correction to the order. They owe me nothing else, but when they go beyond the call of duty and give me more stuff, that is just icing on the cake. One time someone forgot a widget I ordered in the package, so they not only send me the widget they forgot, but a bonus widget instead! I thanked them profusely, and, when I'm in the market for that kind of widget again, will definitely check them out first! So I messed up on a customer order the other day, and when the customer called me on it (this was a bonafide mistake on my part, not a hallucinogenic perceived mistake by the customer as what happened a couple weeks ago), I apologized and sent them some bonus widgets in addition to the widgets I forgot. Never heard back from them. Had it been me, I would've thanked profusely. Some people are just ungrateful.


Technology Makes Me Cry Part 2

The Consumer End:
Monday night ordered an upgrade to some Photoshop Plugins made by (Company ABC--not its real name) that I only had for Classic mode and I wanted it to run native in Photoshop 7 for OS X. I couldn't download the upgrade (Company policy), I had to order them on CD. Fine, no problem. But then it seemed to take forever to hear from them with my order status. I went to their homepage and tried to lookup my order status. It said to enter my order number. Herein lies part of the problem. They never emailed me with an order number, just an order confirmation, but no number. OK, so I tried one of their alternatives, using my email and last 5 digits of my CC. That search turned up nothing. It's as if they never even processed my order. I tried emailing them. Heard nothing, in fact that email was RETURNED to me undeliverable. I tried using their web form. Still nothing. I checked my credit card. Nothing has been charged by them. This AM I went to their site and looked up a phone I could call. A pre-recorded message with a somewhat unfriendly-sounding woman came on telling me there was no one there to take my call.

What the hell kind of business is this? I mean they have been in business for a long time (I bought their original Plugins back in the late 90s or 2000 or so) and have been aware of their products since I first purchased my computer in 1995. They brag about all their important companies who are using their products. But they can't be reached for a simple question! What the hell is going on here? This is bullshit. I am only one person and I always reply to my customers and send off their merchandise in a timely manner. This is a bigassed California-based tech company that can't even process one damn order for $40.

You know what sucks? I get it on both ends. Here's some gripes from being on the other side of the equation:

The Producing/Supplying End:
- Customer wants to know if I have any more of a certain kind of widget. I always hate this. I mean, I have less than 200 items in my ebay widget store...that's about 5 pages to look through. Easy. Can't they find it themselves? Anyway, I check for myself. Sure enough, I have more of them, so I send them the url to the ebay page where they can buy some. Then they email me asking me how much they are and how many can they buy? WHAT-THE-BLOODY-HELL? It says so right on the page...They are $X.XX each and I have 20 available!!!! Why do they have to ask me? Do they want me to bottle feed them their formula too? Not only that, I check my ebay store, and THAT IS THE FIRST ITEM SHOWN ON THE PAGE!!!! How fucking lazy is that? The irony is, is that the item listing has now expired, so they can't buy it now. Lazy asses.

- On a similar note, I've been getting a lot of "can you recommend a certain kind of widget?" questions. I mean, I'm not dealing in high tech complicated things here. Pretty much, you look at it, if you like it, you get it, if you don't, you don't. It's up to the customer to decide. Not me. I'm not a paid consultant. If you don't like it, don't get it! And I have recommended things and then I never hear back from them. WTF is up with that! Why even contact me in the first place...certainly you are capable of going to my site, looking at the stuff, and deciding whether to buy something or not. How can I help you? I can't.

- Customer requests I send him an invoice for a widget. I'm confused about what widget he wants because I don't have any widgets by the name Widget Q, so I ask him if it is widget D he actually wants (because it's the only one that halfway fits the description), and naturally he doesn't include a URL for me to verify what widget he wants. No, that's wrong, he says. He wants Widget Q, not Widget D, and he thinks the name is "Butterfly." Sounds familiar, so I do a search on my site to see what "Butterfly" brings up, and sure enough, it's been sold. I check the page online just to make sure it says "Sold" and it BIG BOLD LETTERS. Why does he want an invoice for something that's been sold? This doesn't even make sense to me. Naturally, he wants me to recommend other Widgets for he can't look himself (well, obviously not, because he can't read if they're sold or not!)

- Customer buys one widget. One. Usually these kind of widgets are sold in pairs. Not unheard of to buy an odd amount, but rare. I contact them, just as a courtesy (damn, I've gotta stop being so damn courteous, seems like Company ABC from the top paragraph doesn't know what that is, and they're probably a big-assed company who can pay their employees to take time off not to answer phones or email) I email them to remind them that they only bought one--which is fine--but usually people buy them in pairs. So I get an email today saying that he'll take two, and to invoice him. Um...doesn't work that way. He has to BUY the widget first. Then I invoice him. Damn lazy people, I tell ya.

I really need to change my approach to this. From now on, if someone asks me a really stupid lazy-assed question, I'm not going to respond. Yes, there are such things as dumb questions, and those questions are when the information is right there on the page, or if the question is asking you to do something for them that is not up to you to do (like decide for them). It's not like my responses to these people has made me money. When I do recommend something, or give them a little extra help finding something, they don't then buy the item. So what's the point?

I need a vacation. Really badly.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Technology makes me cry

We have four printers in our house. It's embarrassing, but true. Here's the story: I got my first printer in 1995 when I got my first computer (Apple Power PC 7200) and all the firsts that come with first time computer ownership. It's an Apple Laserwriter 4/600. And I still use it. It's a damn good printer. It only prints in black, but for what I use it for now (mostly receipts and invoices), that's all that's necessary...and it's really economical--I go through a cartridge about once a year or two, and I usually print out several invoices a day. For the longest time, about 7 years, I only had it hooked up to that first computer because it only connects via one Local Talk cable. So as I got newer computers, I had to sneakernet my files over on zip disks to print them on the old computer which I seldom used, except for printing. But get rid of the Laserwriter? Never! It was and still is, the most I ever paid for a printer. Why didn't I just attach my Laserwriter to my new computers? I'll explain why.

I got a better, faster computer in 1998 (Apple Power PC G3). I also realized I needed a color printer to create CD covers for my graphic CDs. So I got an Epson Photo Stylus 700 (or something like that). Its prints look like photos...perfect color quality. I paid a couple hundred bucks for it or so. It did get its heads plugged up once (as is typical of Epsons) so I had to have it repaired for about $50. Since that computer took up the printer port on my then new computer, I couldn't use my Laserwriter on it. I did have some sort of switcher hub thing that I bought for a different purpose, and I tried it with the printers unsuccessfully. So I had two computers, each with a printer for different purposes.

Then three years later I needed a faster computer, more space, etc., so I got a Quicksilver G4.I couldn't attach either printer to it because this new computer used USB and Firewire ports, not the 9-pin or whatever printer ports that the old Macs did. Plus, I was so overwhelmed with the new technology and OS X, that I couldn't even think about adapting the Laserwriter for several years still. The Epson Inkjet was stuck in 1998, however. There was no support for it on Mac OS X. So it will forever stay attached to the Mac G3, forever stuck in 1998.

In 2002, Stan bought his own computer, A 12" Apple iBook. He wanted something he could take to work with him to work on during his breaks (this was back in the days when he actually had breaks). He wanted a printer, so he bought an inexpensive Epson, not as photoquality as mine, but it worked for what he used it for. It's not like he could use either of my printers, as like with my G4, the printer ports were not compatible.

In another three years I started doing business on ebay and felt the need to print out invoices on a daily basis. By now my main computer and my Tangerine Apple iBook (got that one in 1999) were networked. (I didn't network my two oldest computers...I tried...too difficult, too frustrating...techie I am not). I bought a device by Assante which is a Localtalk to Ethernet adapter. With only some initial minor frustration (and some major frustration after every thunderstorm outage), I hooked up my Laserwriter to our Ethernetwork, which networks my Quicksilver G4 Desktop, Stan's Laptop, and my Laptop. Now Stan doesn't need his printer anymore...he just uses my Laserwriter, which is much more economical.

Despite the great photo-quality output of my stuck-in-1998 Epson, the dyes aren't archivable. I have wanted an archivable-ink quality printer for years now, but they've been running in the area of over $1000. I basically put that on the backburner, but early this year I started thinking about it again, did some research and bought my HP Photosmart Pro B9180. I set it up weeks ago, but didn't try printing anything seriously until yesterday (don't want to waste expensive ink and paper). I was met with major frustration when trying a manual feed. I was so used to asking my computer to print FIRST, and then feeding the paper, that I just didn't even notice in the instructions (and yes, I did read them, but it didn't sink in) that you're supposed to feed the paper *first* and *then* print from your computer. I was so frustrated, I was crying. Technology makes me cry, it really does. So many times I'll have power outage or a cable problem or worse, lose all my data (this happened in 2002 and I was literally a basketcase for days and seriously wanted to die). I feel so ineffective...if I can't figure it out, who can help me? It's not like I have a job where there's tech support. I am all alone. Fortunately, Stan and I were able to put our heads together and figure this one out. If not, I'd be a basketcase and I wouldn't be writing this boring little piece of trivia right now for you to read.


DREAM at Mall

Weird dream where I'm at a mall outside and there's a fence around it. I'm walking along the fence with some car keys that I was given by someone else. B!%@# is there with this guy she had an affair with, G*o$g#. I accidentally bump into them while they are flirting with eachother, and she gets all defensive. It pisses me off, so I walk away, leaving them there. For some reason I knew I was their ride home, but I'm standing there with keys to a car that I don't even know where it is or what it is. I then realize i don't have my purse with me, so I go into the mall to look for it. I'm thinking maybe I can call someone to give me a ride home. It was a very confusing dream...I think I'm only remembering fragments.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dog Bone of Contention

Last night at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, two poodles won best of group in two categories, our categories: Toy Group (Pug) and Non-sporting Group (Boston Terrier). A Toy Poodle won Toy, and Standard Poodle won Non-sporting. Inevitably, one of those dogs will go on to win best of show. It seems like 3 out of every 4 dog shows, a poodle wins some best of group at least. As an owner and lover of dog breeds that are pretty much the antithesis to poodles, I'm getting pretty damn sick of it. I'm not even going to watch the second half of the show tonight which climaxes with the Best of Show. I can't bear to see another Poodle Domination in the top three. It's really starting to look corrupt, and smacks of payoffs.

The only thing preventing poodles from sweeping all 7 categories is that there are only two categories which contain poodles, Toy and Non-Sporting (which contains both the Miniature and Standard). But I bet the Poodle Lobby would like to see their dog in each category. They could keep the Miniature and Toy in their current groups, move the Standard to Working Group, and add a Terrier Poodle to the Terrier Group, a Poodle Hound to Hound Group, and come up with a Herding Poodle to put in the Herding Group. Then the Poodle Lobby would be happy and they could all start licking eachothers...faces.


DREAM with Cameo by Keith Olbermann

Dream 1: I was in a strange, modern 1-story building. AFAIK, I was the only one there, and I had just gotten out of the shower and didn't have anything on. The building was reminiscent of the CSU art building, with large-windowed halls on the perimeters, however it was more like a private home. I must have thought the windows had some sort of coating so that I could see out but no one could see in, because I was standing there, in all my nakedness, looking outside, looking at a passenger train that passed very close. There was a woman on that train who kept staring at me and giving me the evil eye. I figured she could see me, and didn't approve of my naked body (not in a prude way, but in a "you don't have a perfect body, what's wrong with you, I'm a health nut/ex-model" sort of way). She had long dark hair, olive skin, rather thin, maybe around my age or a little younger. I have no idea who she was, but it embarrassed me enough to go into a back bedroom and cover myself with a bathrobe I found there. Which gives a clue that it's not my house because I don't own a bathrobe. I hear some noise, and I see our friend Pat. Is it her house? Is it the CSU art building? We talk and sit down at a table, and Keith Olbermann happens to be sitting there too, but Pat is oblivious to him. Pat is talking about how she just had the Baseball Commissioner over at her house the other day, and, knowing from his broadcasts that he is a baseball fan, I say something like, "That's a coincidence because Keith Olbermann is here and he's a big baseball fan." And then Keith says, "That's a real coincidence because my wife is the Baseball Commissioner."

Dream 2: Background: IRL last night Stan was readying a book to ship to a foreign country but he didn't know what the country was because it wasn't written in English on the invoice. It said "Schweiz", which to me implied Switzerland, but I looked it up on Google just to make sure. So here's the dream: I looked at the package Stan was shipping (it had also grown from book-size to box-size) and it was addressed to Columbia! (no, not the Rocky Horror character, the country) I asked him why he was sending it to Columbia and not Switzerland. He said he wasn't sure that it was going to Switzerland, and he did some research, and he believes he should actually ship it to Columbia. I was going ballistic at this point, not just because he didn't believe me that it was to go to Switzerland, but because he had somehow construed in his twisted, faulty research that it went to Columbia. I told him I'd bet him that it went to Switzerland, so he told me to write down the amount of I wanted to bet on a small pad of paper. I tried to write down $20, but it came out $30. I then asked him how much he would be out if it went to the wrong country, and we should bet that amount. Then the dream mutated and I was in a house with a bunch of other people talking, and I felt rather drunk. There was a large couch in the living room, and the only way to get to the other side of the living room was to go over the couch. I tried to go over it, but it was quite the obstacle in my inebriated state. Then Stan and I were getting ready to leave. I had a backpack--whatever I had stuffed in it made it almost a completely round shape. It also hung very low, so whenever I would walk, it would hit me in the right leg, causing me to have to hop on my left leg. Stan, and some other person, were holding my hand, supporting me as I walked out the door, because I couldn't walk on my own two feet. I remember laughing and hopping. It was a bit surreal.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Food DREAM as Metaphor for our Culture and Nation

I walked into a local neighborhood retro comfort food diner, supposedly it was Monty's Blue Plate, however it looked more like a convenience store. I think I was with inlaws, but it was odd because there were kids that were inbetween the ages of my two nieces, and they didn't look like them either except for light hair. We sat down at a table that didn't look anything like Monty's tables...the chairs were big and wide, butcher block style, maybe like something out of Avo's in Fort Collins, but this definitely wasn't Avo's. If anything it had the ambience of a TGIMcFunster's. One of my nieces wanted me to sit on her lap. I thought that odd, but I did it anyway, but I was afraid I was going to crush her because she looked only about 6 or so. She was wearing thick dark hornrimmed glasses. The other niece, who was about the same age, was talking about (a famous celebrity who just died) and my MIL and SIL were all too eager to participate in the conversation. I was just dying of embarrassment to be around these TV celebrity gossip tabloid lovers, and despite the look of the TGIMcFunsters, this was STILL the east side of Madison where people don't discuss such things. I'd never be able to set foot in Monty's again (not that I have recently IRL, but that's a moot point). However, as a sign of the times, even Monty's politically-correct, eco-minded, socialist-prone overeducated eastside patrons shall witness the decadent decline and fall of their utopic high-minded civilization, and succumb to the new presiding moronic culture of imbecilic leaders and a corporate dumb-down of food. I got up and went to the cash register, this place looking more and more like a convenience store. There were signs advertising Pop Tarts and some kind of Toaster Waffle. I asked the teenage guy working at the counter why they were selling that food? He said he's the new manager and that they had made changes in their menu and they were now selling these convenience foods. I asked him why, since one can walk down the road and go into the Stop and Go and get that, whereas people come here for better food. I then mentioned some sort of salmon dish that I once had there (but only in Dreamland as I can't recall eating salmon at Monty's IRL) and how can they serve such trash after having cooked such fine food in the past? I started getting really angry at this guy because he was such an idiot and knew nothing about food yet was running this restaurant, but completely bastardizing it. Then I remember shouting at the bottom of my lungs (i.e., in a very DEEP voice) "Thumbs Down, Caesar!" Was I mocking this twerp's dictatorship of his restaurant business, he giving his thumbs down to all good and wholesome cuisines, or was I giving *him* MY thumbs down? I don't know, but I think this is a pretty good analogy to our country and the pea-brained little Ceasar we have running, or should I say, ruining it.


Friday, February 09, 2007

The Weird File

Customer writes (typos unedited): ..."Could you please tell me whay the INTERIOR diameter of the widget is, ie 6mm 0r 5mm or?
Thank y9ou,

OK, I admit I read it quickly because I was a bit frazzled (you'll read why later) and then got really confused. Why is she asking me why the interior is a certain size? How does she know the interior widget size since I don't mention it in the listing? I really didn't know what she was asking, so I responded that I didn't understand her question and asked her if she was wondering what the size was. Upon reflection, I realize she wasn't asking WHY the interior was a certain size, but WHAT the diameter is (WHAY?). Damnit people, can't you fix your damn typos that obscure the meaning of your questions? There's this new line of thought that says "if people understand it, it doesn't matter if it's spelled right." Yeah, but if it's not spelled right, how do you know if people are going to understand it? Damn.

But here's the really annoying thing that I got in the mail: A notice of an unpaid parking ticket. In Beloit. Yes, Beloit. Seems that someone with our license plate was parked on the 1700 block of Summit Avenue in Beloit on January 18, 2007 at 1:57 AM. WE WERE IN BED. ASLEEP. AT HOME. IN MADISON. 50 some miles away from Beloit. Hell, we haven't even BEEN through Beloit since sometime in 2003 or early 2004, and then it was just a drive around town to see if they had any decent greenhouses, which they didn't. I don't think we EVER parked in Beloit in our life. Seems like we're being assessed a penalty because the first ticket wasn't paid. Well, it wasn't paid, because we didn't GET a ticket, and we didn't GET a ticket because we weren't parked on 1700 Summit in Beloit in the middle of the fucking night!

So I called the number on the letter. I told the woman I spoke to my story (sans emotion and cusswords). She fiddled through some papers and told me she would get back with me and mentioned something about having problems with that ticket. WTF?!? Trouble with that ticket? Yea, there's trouble with that ticket allright, like it's NOT OURS!?

Ya think that just maybe because it was in the middle of the night that the ticket cop could've *possibly* misread the license plate, mistaken a 2 for a Z or a 6 for an 8? Ya think?

They haven't called back yet. I don't want to wait too long since it's a Friday afternoon, and on Friday afternoons employees like that scatter like roaches in a floodlight.

I just called again. I got a pre-recorded message. Aaaarrgh.

Edited to add:

Premise for creepy movie:

Someone gets a parking ticket for their car being parked overnight in some city where they didn't live, plus, it was at night when they were at home asleep, and so was their car. But they decide to do a little research to find out just what they were doing that day or the following day, so they go to their diary and find out they had recorded a dream from that night, and in that dream, they had a dream where they were driving and walking around a strange city. Then they have to go fight the ticket in the city where they got it (I hope this doesn't happen to us...what a waste of resources and time!), and when they get there, they realize they have been there before, even though they haven't! Then they realize, they've been there in their dream. Don't know what happens's just a premise.

Edited to add:

Yay! She called back and said I could disregard it and that they were going to void the ticket because they had initially entered it for a Mercury (which we don't have) but that didn't give the correct license or match anything, so then they re-entered the information and then it...oh hell, I don't know what it was exactly she said, mumbojumbo, but something like that. Anyway, she said if we receive it again, then they'll have to look into it deeper. WTF. I hope it's settled.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

FrankenDREAM and a Damn Good Roll of Tape

I'm having a hard time remembering the dream I had earlier in the night because too much time has lapsed since writing it down. But I do still remember the final part of the dream right before I woke up.

I was with Stan and we were in some kind of building/warehouse waiting for a shipment to arrive. Someone we haven't heard from for ages, Brian, was supposedly the one with the shipment. It was of his art. It was all packaged in elaborate crates, like crates that carry musician's equipment. Supposedly he had constructed the crates himself, and they had windows so that the art could see out. (?!?!?!) I looked in one of them, and the art was some sort of weird windowbox construction framing a soft, plush Frankenstein doll, a roll of masking tape*, and something else but I forgot what. Brian was really gloating over his art and his shipping job. I just thought it all a bit weird.

*OK, here's a masking tape story which might've inspired its appearance in this dream. A couple weeks ago, I went to an art supply store in Madison to get some Rives BFK and Arches Cover paper. I also picked up some liquid calligraphy inks (that I use in acrylic painting) and a roll of masking tape (so I didn't have to make a separate trip somewhere else to get tape). Since I was busy at the counter filling out a tax-exempt form, I wasn't aware of what the prices on the items were...I mean, I knew the paper would be several dollars a sheet, as would be the bottles of ink, and well, tape's tape. Later that week, I bought a printer that has archival inks and can print on high quality 100% rag acid free paper so that I can start selling my digital prints. I was comparing the prices of the paper made for use especially for the printer with the prices of the Rives and Arches paper I bought. I checked the receipt and saw a charge of $5.15. I couldn't figure out what that item, the most expensive individual item on the receipt, was. It wasn't paper, it wasn't was...MASKING TAPE! Yes, I bought a roll of masking tape that was over $5!!!! Not any masking tape, no, this was DRAFTING tape. Oooh, excuse me for confusing the two. I felt so stupid. I bought a $5 roll of tape. It better be damn good tape.

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Dawn tagged me, and so I went to her blog to see what the meme was. I was hoping it was the first one, but no. Well, I'll do it anyway. ;-) (Just for the record, I don't keep up with blogs much anymore--including my own--so I feel a bit awkward participating in going to a dance naked except for tennies).

So without further hesitation, here's the meme I was tagged for:

6 strange facts about me:

1. I have no brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or cousins. Never's not like some died or something.
2. My dad's parents were to become my "godparents" (yeah, a lot of good that did), but because they were poor and old and my granddad couldn't walk and lived 1000 miles away or so, they couldn't make my baptism, so I had "Stand In" godparents at my baptism. How fucked is that? As it is, I turned out an atheist. Heh.
3. Some of my grey hair is reverting back to light brown. I swear and Stan as my witness that this is true.
4. If I had the room, time, and money, I would have one of each: Pug, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, and Boxer. (can you tell I love shorthaired push-faced dogs?)
5. I've never been overseas.
6. I hate shopping and abhor malls, even though they pop up in my dreams once in a while, and are quite pleasureable because I'm usually one of the few persons there.

I don't know, those facts don't seem that strange, except maybe the top two about my birth family.

Because I want to do the other meme, here it goes:

Things you may not have known about me

1.Four jobs I have had in my life:
mac graphic artist, chemistry stockroom worker, typist, babysitter
2. Four Movies I have watched over and over:
Pulp Fiction, Fargo, Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me, Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii
3. Four places I have lived:
Wisconsin, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts
4. Four TV shows I love to watch:
LOST, Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Dirty Jobs
5. Four places I have been on vacation:
The Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Yellowstone, Roswell NM
6. Four of my favorite foods:
Uni (sea urchin gonads), Oysters on the Half Shell, Ikura (salmon roe), and a really good Chile Relleno.
7. Four places I would rather be right now:
considering it is arctic conditions here now:
Bali (although I've never been there), Arizona desert, Redwood Forest CA, White Sands NM

Not sure about tagging someone I said, I don't participate in the blogosphere other than my own writing (I actually don't consider this a's more like a journal) But if you do, I guess you can consider yourself tagged.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

DREAM with Staged Living Room

Stan and I were in the company of someone we used to know (_o_d_). He was living on the western side of Ft. Collins sort of up in the foothills, although it didn't look like FC at all. He was driving us to his house. The landscape was quite unusual, and more southwest-looking than Northern Colorado. His place was right up against a hillside with southwest-looking stone outcroppings on top, along with large crested versions of cactus or euphorbias the size of large bushes. He parks in front of his house and a roommate is outside and comes to greet us, a black woman named Angie or something. She introduces herself to me when I'm in the car, and then leaves. I get out of the car and look around. Across the street is some school or business building that looks very mid-century cold war modern architecture. I then say that this is like something out of a dream, although I didn't realize I was dreaming when I said that so it really couldn't be considered lucid dreaming. Then we went inside his house. Inside, *his* home was like a school because it had a large stage and theatre in the center of it. I told him it would be so cool to have a theatre like this, with a stage with a wooden floor--imagine all the art projects you could do here. He seemed pretty ambivalent to my comment. I looked around and noticed there were people working on art projects on the stage and in little nooks surrounding it. I kept talking, mostly about how nice it would be to work here, although how most people working here are doing it on a grant as that is the only people who could afford it, and then I start going on one of my anti-individual grant speeches. I can't remember how it ended.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Topic: It Takes All Kinds

OK, usually I don't share the goings-on of my ebay life, but this one is completely out of the weird file under "self-righteous I'm never wrong persnickety finger waggers".

I sent off a 100 count bag-o-widgets to this customer. They received it promptly, and rattled off this ebay message to me:

"I just received my (widgets) and am happy that they arrived so quickly. However, there were only 99 (widgets) not 100, I counted them 3 times. I'm not going to leave negative feedback but that is slightly annoying. I understand that mistakes happen but it's not really fair to me. Somebody needs to be more careful counting!"

To quote the Geico Caveman: "First of all, I'm not alltogether in love with your tone right now." There have been times I've been shorted a widget on ebay. I simply write the seller, tell them I didn't receive a widget, and they either a) send me the missing widget or b) refund my money if said widget isn't available. In the case of where I've received the wrong widget, but it's a halfway acceptable enough widget, I usually decide to keep the widget, but not leave any feedback and drop the matter after they tell me they don't have the right widget. I don't finger wag at them telling them "Someone needs to be more careful sorting out their widgets!" Come on, what good would that do? Sellers are as careful as they can be and no amount of finger-wagging by an annoyed customer will improve that. Also, the problem is a minor and correctable one. I'm happy to send off another widget to the customer, you don't need to finger-wag to get me to do that. Just tell me I there was an error in the count, and I'll fix it. No problem. No need to act all "this is unfair to me!" and persecuted! Because you're not!

I wrote back to them:

Thank you for contacting me about the counting error. Yes, it would be unfair to leave negative feedback, because all you would need to do is contact me and tell me there were only 99, and I would be happy to send you the extra (widget). As you said, mistakes do happen, and it was a mistake, and I will be glad to send you the extra missing (widget). I do not cheat my customers (please check my feedback), and this oversight was simply that, a mistake in counting. No need to get so upset about it--no one is cheating you. Your extra (widget) will go out in the mail on Monday.

But you couldn't top their response:

I wasn't so upset, like I said I was annoyed. But turns out it was my error. The missing (widget) had slid under something on my desk. Please excuse my error. Sorry for the mess.

I really wanted to write back and say:

"Seems like somebody needs to be more careful counting!" But I bit my tongue as that would be playing right into their own little game of wag the finger. Maybe if they would've just been a little more trusting/not paranoid that there were 100 widgets (not that I'm denying I couldn't have made a mistake one is perfect and mistakes do happen and I have made these widget-count mistakes before), they wouldn't have had to be so annoyed over nothing in the first place.

Even thought they found their widget, I suspect they're still annoyed. I blocked them from buying from me again. Who needs this?


DREAM with towels and midget sink

I was in some (unrecognized) room and had some white rags or towels that had a blue stain or paint in them. I was taking a hose and spraying off the rags to get the color out, but I was doing this on hardwood floors, and the blue was getting on the floors. I realized I didn't want this mess, so then I took the rags and mopped up the floor with them, and then washed them out in the sink ( think I might've thought of that FIRST?). I didn't recognize the house or rooms where I was, but supposedly it was mine. In the bathroom, the sink was very low to the ground, which made standing over it extremely uncomfortable. I asked Stan why he lowered the sink, and I forgot the response he gave, but it had to do with expediency or saving money or something. I told him that it was so difficult to wash my hands over this stupid midget sink, that if he didn't raise it, I'd never wash my hands again, and then I'd get sick all the time.


Yes, Mr. Retarded in Chief,

You ARE a Uniter, not a Divider. Why, who would think that during a phone call with my mom, the least contentious topic of conversation we have is about YOU, since we are united in our agreement that you are a fool, a dunce, and your fascist administration is a runaway train. YOU are the only thing we discussed where we were on the same page and in complete agreement. See, we seem to argue about most other things, but not YOU, Dubya. Despite our different outlooks and viewpoints, we can both agree: You should be impeached, you chimp.


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