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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Smashed Turtle Dream

I had some sort of road trip dream were Ann and I were driving in our car on some roads of unknown space. At some point on the road there was a large smashed turtle on the road and we had to go around it. It was kind of sad.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Butterfly days of summer

Ann and I love to watch butterflies and about 10 years ago we started planting the kinds of flowers in our gardens that might attract them. We had lots of butterfly bushes for a while, but winters are hard on them and one year they all were killed. We gave up on the zone 5 butterfly bushes after that. We planted some milkweed and after a decade they have started to take over our whole yard. We have to pull them out to keep some areas open for other plants. I've been planning to pull out even more of them this week until today.

Today our yard was filled with more butterflies than we've ever seen before and most of the flower they were landing on were the milkweeds. I haven't seen this many butterflies in one space for years.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Butterfly DREAM

I had a dream that I saw a butterfly in our garden with a wingspan of about 16 inches. It looked sort of like a Monarch, but more like a Queen (not found in these parts) in coloration, but the wings structure made it "squarer" as opposed to "rectangular" in dimension...if that makes sense. The color was very reddish-orange-brown-purple. I tried to catch it, and in doing so punctured its fragile wings. I felt like such an idiot for doing that.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Hell. Day 1.

As soon as the roadworkers finished working on the intersecting street across from our house, as soon as they blacktop that and I think the noise in the neighborhood is over...guess what? Stan discovers a pile of shingles in the driveway in the house next door...the house that can't keep owners for more than a few years. It finally sold after being vacant since the beginning of the year.

Yes, the roofers are here. As I was fixing coffee this morning, I see one looking at the ladder on the side of our house (NOT the side of the house next to the house they should be working on, mind you, the other side, the far side) where Stan is fixing paint. There was a whole crew of them on that side, looking at the house. I yell out the window, "what are you doing?!?" several times, and then go outside and tell them, gesturing (I should have said, pardon my poor's been ages... "El Otro Casa!" but I wasn't thinking) "It's the other house! The OTHER HOUSE!"

The house they're working on is about 4 feet from our house, and naturally, my bedroom on the first floor and my office on the second floor are on that side of the house. Both those rooms are air conditioned, and it's really the only places I can work when it's this hot.

It's a tear-off job too, not just a putting a new layer on.

A kid who looked no more than 12, who I assume is part of the crew, rang the doorbell. I didn't go to the door because the dogs were in the way and barking, so I yelled out the window, "What do you want?"

"Can I use your bathroom?" he asked. WTF?

"Why do you want to use MY bathroom?" I asked him.

"Because there's no one home over there."

"Well, that's not my problem."

Yeah, right. And if you let the kid in, then the whole crew will want to use it. OK, so if YOU were having your roof done, wouldn't you want to have someone around who could be there to supervise stuff, like, "no, not the neighbor's house!" Or "The bathroom is upstairs on your left?" I mean, not being there when the crew you contracted arrives? What is this? Oh, this is not looking good.

Welcome to a week of hell. And it's not even the roofing noises that is concerning me at this point. It's the absentee neighbors. I can see not wanting to move in before the job is done, that makes sense, but why can't they have someone there at least initially when the job is starting? They almost tore off my f-ing roof! If I wasn't home and awake, they would've!


DREAMs: Barfing Cat and Trembling Woman

I had on a winter coat that I was trying to lace up like a shoe. It wasn't working too well, so I decided to get a new coat. Stan and I went to a mall that is sort of a reoccurring motif in my dreams, and I found a coat that was soft and white (white's not really my style for coats), but it too laced up. I was struggling with this lace thing, so I decided to forget about getting a coat. Then we were walking around outside either our house or some other house, and there were these Coleus plants with humungous leaves, similar to some of the varieties they have now, but the leaves were shaped differently. In this garden area I see my cat, Persephone walking around and throwing up all the time as soon as she eats anything. Stan and I take her and put her in the car. We are driving on a street that is similar to Bluemound in Milwaukee or Midvale in Madison. It wasn't one of those streets, and I don't know what city we were in, but the main feel of the streets were similar. The back windows are open, and we drive over some roadkill. Persephone must've smelled the roadkill, and she jumps out of the window. Instead of stopping for her immediately, we continue driving. There is a third person in the car, but I don't know who it is. We park somewhere, and all three of us start going different directions, except Stan and I are sort of going the same general direction, back to where Persephone jumped out. I see something in the road several blocks away, and figure it was the roadkill we ran over. I see birds and other animals picking at it. As we get closer, I also see Persephone there, but she has changed into our cat who died 6 years ago, Natasha. This Persephone/Natasha cat is going around biting chunks off everything she sees, then throwing it back up. It's quite disgusting. I woke up from that dream with quite a disturbed feeling.

Later, I dream that I am in a department store and accompanying a woman who is maybe in her 50s or 60s and seems disabled somehow. We find an escalator, and the "down" one is blacked out, so we ride the "up" one, but it seems to be going down. She gets on and is several steps ahead of me and she is trembling a lot. I am afraid she is going to fall. I walk toward her to help her, but there are other people in front of me and I can't seem to get to her.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Color Wheels

I got a web mailer today from ebay telling of all the great new features they are adding for stores. I decided to check out an article about using color in store design, and felt quite disgusted/amused (I used to be disgusted, now I'm just amused?) by this color wheel (Scroll down to the very bottom of the page).
Now maybe most people won't notice anything wrong, but if they're trying to enlighten people about design and color, then at least have someone write the article who is knowledgeable about it!
Look at that colorwheel! It's dreadful! There's no difference between green and yellow-green, nor is there a difference between purple and reddish-purple. The violet-blue is way too dark, but there's hardly any hue-shift between it and the blue, just a more deeper tone. It's like someone mixed this up using those horrible tempera paints from grammar school. Remember those? I remember in 7th grade art we were given tempera paints and there was no green. I had to make green with a hansa yellow and an ultramarine blue, and any artist knows that you cannot make green with ultramarine, you need to use pthalo blue, and even then the green isn't the best. My green was a pukey olive and it bugged me to death, but no one gave a damn except me, not even the apathetic teacher.
So I just had to make my own wheel (to the left). Notice how my colors flow into eachother more as they cycle around the wheel. I whipped it out in minutes, and had ebay put a little more thought into this, they could've whipped one out in minutes too if they would've had the foresight to actually have an artist design the page or at least consult one for this tutorial. Geesh.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Addendum to Below

You know what's even worse than listening to someone with poor diction who is working a low-paying customer service phone job? It's listening to HIGHLY EDUCATED PROFESSOR TYPES on NPR who sound like GOATBOY!

"Ehm....errrr...aaaah.....state of the economy....aaaaah....sleeper cells...ehmmm....errrr.....uuuhhhh....right wing terrorist organizations....errr....depleted ozone levels.... ehmmm .... grain based fuel.....aaaaahhhh errrmmr...."

Literally, I have to turn off the radio or leave the room.

Oh, and there was another one. No poor diction with this one, in fact, her diction was PERFECT. It was her DELIVERY. It was on a subject I was interested in too, pity, but I couldn't listen. It was if she was reading a children's book aloud to a bunch of 4-year olds, overly emphasized words, slow, cautious delivery, overly acted, semi-melodic sing-song, I could just see her eyes getting big and using overly dramatic hand gestures. I had to shut the radio off. I couldn't take it.

Feeling very curmudgeonly today...


Like Helium

I just got off the phone canceling an appointment with Charter to fix a problem that seems to have fixed itself.

I am just so sick of speaking to customer service people with THICK, incomprehensible accents!

Let me make a few things clear. This is not a rant about hiring people in the US from other countries, far from it. This is partly a rant about big companies outsourcing offshore. Obviously the problems with that are too numerous and go well beyond the person at the other end of the phone who you cannot understand and who is on the other side of the world. But there are also *native born* Americans who are incomprehensible as well. They come from all parts of the country (except maybe the Pacific Northwest...I've not been able to detect much accent there) and have all kinds of accents that are oft times undecipherable by people not familiar with those regions. But there is one accent that is less regional and more generational--I call it the Helium accent.

Although my problem with Charter today and yesterday involved talking to people who were probably in Albania or someplace, I also have numerous problems with the young people speaking Helium. Helium, I believe, originally started out as the Valley Girl accent, originating in the 70s and 80s in California. It immediately spread across the country, and became the accent for the under 20 crowd, then even the under 30 crowd, and is slowly creeping up to the under 40 crowd, and eventually, horrors, I fear even my generation and older will succumb. I hope not, I hope it stays a young person thing. In fact, I hope no one who is of job age will use it in the future.

Even though it is hard to do an accent in a print-only medium, maybe I can explain a few things about Helium. As with the Valley Girl accent, it too has the frequent interjections of "like," "omygod" "like," and, did I mention "like"? Spoken very quickly and in a high register, it sounds as if (notice I avoided saying "like") the speaker just huffed a snootfull of helium, hence the name. Think Munchkin land, only faster and more slurred.

"We represent the Helium kids, ohmygod, like the Helium kids, the, Helium like kids.
"We like represent the Helium kids, and ohmygod we like welcome you to Helium land!

Look, if someone is washing dishes or cooking or working in a labratory or carpentry or performing a job service that does not rely on their voice being the main medium dealing with the public, then I have no problem with wherever the worker comes from. But when essentially the only thing they do is speak to the public such as a customer service rep over the phone (especially a phone-only job where there is no visual cues such as lip-reading), I want to deal with someone who I can understand clearly, who I don't have to continually ask to repeat what they just said. And it doesn't matter whether that accent is Indian, Albanian, Mexican...or Helium.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Big Grey Apples

Apple's redesign of their website is a little...depressing. I really liked the glass buttons from their last major redesign that came out with OS X 6-7 years ago or so. It was their trademark of OS X just as the rainbow Apple was their trademark of previous incarnations. I had a friend tell me that the rainbow Apple looked like the gay flag. OK, so maybe that's why they changed it back at the turn of the millennium (not that there's anything wrong with the gay flag), but why the change away from the glass buttons now? I don't like this new interface--it's like minimal sci-fi. Stark, bleak, dark grey sci-fi. No unique technique went into the design at all. Looks like any 13-year old boy with no artistic sense could do it. I hope Steve's recent schmoozing with Billy Boy hasn't swayed him over to the dark side too much.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Great Day for a Guillotine

"I want to thank the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and staff of the Century Regional Detention Center for treating me fairly and professionally. I am going to serve the remaining 40 days of my sentence. I have learned a great deal from this ordeal and hope that others have learned from my mistakes."

-Issued by an attorney on behalf of Paris Hilton



I say I want a revolution.



I can't remember my dreams, even though I know I had them.

I was thrown for a loop the past couple days. I can't talk about It's something that most people wouldn't understand or have much sympathy for anyway. It's just that certain things can be such a disappointment at most, or an unfathomable conundrum and contradiction at least. It's as if someone turned on the surrealize filter in my life, and I'll never be able to go back to thinking things were the way they were before anymore.

Either someone is messing with my head, or they're serious, in which case I guess I just don't understand at all. It's like having a gourmet chef tell you they like Dorritos.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Peony Envy

One time I called them the French Poodles of flowers. I thought they were absurd because the blooms were so huge they couldn't be supported by their stems. But after seeing them bloom en masse at various botanical gardens and realizing they didn't only come in magenta or white, but all shades inbetween with even creams, lemons, butters and corals, I grew to like them.

OK, so I am still craving them because we don't have any of our own (they take up so much room that we really don't have). This has been a really spectacular year for peonies around Madison, so I'm going through this really horrible peony envy.

Tonight, I succumbed to googling for peony porn on the web.

What have I become?

But what's up with this one? Weird genetics going on there.


DREAM: Many parts are edible

My dreams were like a patchwork quilt last night, a little bit of this, a little of that, with no discernible structure, plotline or composition. IRL In the morning around 7 or so, I was listening to the radio and they were talking about airline travel tips. This must have crept into my dreams because I was able to make out one vague snippet:

Stan and I were in an airport or someplace far away, possibly in Europe (I've never been there). I looked out the windows and everything looked like a black and white print or photocopy of large, old buildings. Nothing was in color. It became late at night and we were hungry, so we walked a long way in the airport to a cafeteria that was still open, but just barely. Instead of a cafeteria line, it was more like a loosely arranged grocery store produce department, where you picked your food from little stands as opposed to a tray line. Nothing looked appetizing to me except for some fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy, but I couldn't get to it because this big SUV-driving American male tourist was in my way and wouldn't budge. Finally he left, and I was able to check out the chicken. I also saw some pine cones laid out by the mashed potatoes. I thought it was odd that they were serving pine cones to eat--I don't think these were from piƱon pines either.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Let's get it ON!

I hate those insidius ads...Whatever ON:

"Activon! Apply directly where it hurts!"

"FirstOn! Apply directly where it itches!"

"PreferOn! "Apply directly to the scar!"

And the worst of all, the original, the most insidius of all insidius ads:

"HeadOn! Apply directly to the forehead!" (repeated three times)

But here's the one I'm waiting to see:

"HardOn! Apply directly to the penis! HardOn! Apply directly to the penis! HardOn! Apply directly to the penis!"


DREAM: Highways and Dogs (with large GROSSNESS factor--you are WARNED)

I was travelling east on I-80 around Grand Island, Nebraska. An old pickup merges onto the interstate in front of us, cutting us off. It seemed like the interstate was more like a country highway (like Highway 34 on the plains of Colorado around "Masters" or "Deerfield") because there was an old decrepit building/former gas station on the corner of where the pickup truck guy pulls in. I know there was more to the dream because I remember remembering it after I woke up, but I since forgot it after I went back to sleep.

Our back yard must have been fenced because our dogs were out in it unattended. Lucifer Sam kept peeing through the fence onto the neighbor's lawn where they had things growing underneath large square clay pots. Our neighbor Mary was getting mad at Lucifer Sam because he was doing this and she was telling him to stop. So I went out back to scold him and tell him to stop. IRL, Plato could pee that way, but since Lucifer Sam was potty trained early, he pees like a girl, squatting, not lifting. The people we got our first Pug, Hieronymus, from said this can be done with male Pugs if trained early enough, however Hieronymus, despite being a very good dog in the potty training department, still lifted. Then I was given (by whom?) a new dog, small, maybe a hound/terrier mix, brown and black with very soft, white fur. It was pretty young, and I decided to keep the dog for ourselves, even though we already had enough dogs. I was outside in our back yard holding it, and Stan comes up to me and I show him and Mary the dog. He asks what the dog's name is, and on the spot I say "Basketweave." (This is a name of one of my Dingbat Fonts) I then follow up with, "Or maybe Basketcase." Then I'm watching Plato who is by the garage near the terraced area, except in the dream it is flat. [GROSS PART]He starts to poop, but then he starts pooping out this foamy white liquid, and then he starts pooping this long rope of poop about a meter long. Then he starts losing his balance and rolling around in it. [/GROSS PART] I'm freaking out, thinking he is dying. The thing is, this dog didn't look like Plato, it looked more like our neighbor's dog Sunday, a blue heeler/Lab/whatever mix, except it had more white on it. Then the dog sits on a chair (seems like we're inside now). I come back to it later to see if it is alive, and it is, but it seems very sick. I am thinking that it was ironic I got a new dog, and then this old dog is about to die.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

The gap between older and younger stings.

Growing up we are all very keen on the generation gap between us and the generation before us, and the differences we have appear to be often painfully conspicuous. Looking at the generation gap between ourselves and the younger generation is often harder to recognize and often takes us by surprise. I was surprised today by things a younger coworker of mine said about Sting - of all people.

A woman, closer to my age, told my young so-worker that he looked like Sting, and perhaps he does only a little bit. This was suppose to be a compliment and when someone tells us we look like a famous person it is almost always met as a compliment. My coworker insisted that he didn't look like Sting and said things that implied that the comparison was a brutal insult. I tried to tell my coworker that he was being given a compliment and he even turned my words away as being wrong.

Sting? What could possibly be so wrong with being compared to Sting? The man did some interesting - not fantastic - but good music. He was excellent as an actor and now is helping to save the rain forests. Sure he's lost a little hair, but haven't we all?

I try to put myself in my coworkers place and remember myself as being 26 years old. I imagine someone telling me that I look a little like - say - Tony Bennett. I have to emphasize that I don't look like Tony or Ann will write 5 paragraphs only about that point. So.... at the age of 26 I would have found Tony to be an image of an earlier generation and would have not wanted to be compared.... I think i wouldn't have taken a comparison as hard as my coworker did, but I think I can see how I would have had some misgivings about being compared to anyone not so admired by my generation.

I think when we are younger we want to be recognized by things that seem important to our own generation. I guess it took me by surprise that younger people would find someone like Sting too irrelevant to be associated with in any way.

I think Sting is only a few years older than I am.


DREAM with Assorted Distorted Impossible Scenes

I had one of those reoccurring dreams where I'm looking through the closet in the room in my parent's house which used to be my bedroom 30 years ago. I know that I'll find clothes, especially tops, that I haven't worn for years--and that mysteriously still fit and are still stylish--and I do. I'm trying on all these clothes that I'd forgotten about that I can now wear again. Then the room mutates into my own bedroom, sort of, except it is more like a long van or a bus that is parked out on the side of our house in place of where our bedroom is. The logistics of placing any vehicle in our yard IRL is literally impossible due to the various retaining walls and concrete steps on the street and the alley. And even if there was an accessible grassy slope to drive a vehicle up there, there'd be no room on that side of the house, unless one removed the bedroom. I'm sitting a few seats back in the bus/van. I'm not sure what I'm doing...reading? Working on my laptop? Just waiting? There's a drunken Keith Richards-esque guy across the street (not Keith, but acts/looks like him) standing on a retaining wall, babbling and shouting. IRL, there is no retaining wall across the street. There is a woman walking by my side of the bus and she looks in and sees me. She is no one I know IRL, but I know her somehow in the dream. She comes on the bus. I forget what happened next.

Edited to add:

I do remember what happened after the woman came onto the bus! The bus mutated into a restaurant, and there were other people there. I was given a menu, possibly by a waitress who might have been the same woman who walked on the "bus." I started reading the menu, and I told the waitress that I didn't recognize the writing. There was a man sitting across the aisle who I think was Stan's father, although his nose wasn't as big and he looked a little more average ya-hey Wisconsinish rather than a cross between Alan Ginsberg and Francis Ford Coppolla. He looked over at me, at which point either the waitress or he gave me different menu. This time I "recognized" it, however I don't really know what recognizing it entailed.


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