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Subject:Last Night's Dream and this morning's followups.
Time:12:35 pm
Current Mood:blahblah
Kids woke me numerous times again last night. Bleh.

Near the end of sleep, I had a dream. I was going to say a strange dream, but all my dreams are strange, and this was probably less so than most.

A group of us were Read more...Collapse )

This was all going along very nicely, for a very long time. I don't remember this part of the dream that well, but it seemed much longer than the part I do remember well. At some point, when I'm joking around with a couple people, I heard some kind of strange sound coming from a filing cabinet. The top drawer on a filing cabinet. In hindsight, I don't recall if it was music or buzzing or what. Might have been my wife's alarm clock going off. But it was an odd sound to be coming from there. So I open up the filing cabinet, and inside is an odd little device. Read more...Collapse )

And then I was awoken rather suddenly. I can't remember if it was one of my kids needing attention or my wife's alarm going off. I know my kids woke me a few times in the night needing something, and I got up to help with whatever it was. I also remember one time her alarm went off and she woke me to tell me what time it was, and to let me know she was getting up to get the kids ready. Because I was up so often in the night with them, I can sleep in if I want to. I mutter something about having had an odd dream, and decide to lay there awhile thinking about what it could mean. So I start really pondering this device, more than the rest of the dream. The friends, the office manager, the police, the Agent, all that seems less important than the device. Like somehow understanding what the device symbolizes will give me some kind of key insight for my life.

As I'm pondering that, my thoughts about it become weirder and weirder until I realize that I drifted off during my thoughts and had a dream in which I was trying to interpret my other dream, but my thoughts were so jumbled and dreamlike that I was left without anything useful.

This repeated itself several times over the course of the morning - trying to decipher the symbolism of the device and falling into another dream. I don't know what that was, nor why I was so attached to interpreting it before the rest of the dream. And I don't really know what the heck any of it means.
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Subject:Has this happened to you?
Time:11:16 am
So, this morning, like most mornings, I get in the car and plug in my iPod. I've had it for a few years. It's a "classic" series iPod, back when they made them with sufficient storage space. Mine holds 120G and is nearly full. I've got 15,937 tracks on it. Many of those, maybe as many as half, are things I'm "hoarding" - stuff I got for free that I don't really know yet. But a lot of them are "my" songs, stuff I know and love.

This is a good segue to why I noticed what I noticed.Collapse )

So a few days ago, I think Thursday, I was driving home and put it the iPod on random shuffle, and a few tracks came on. One I know I already had on that playlist, but it was so darn good I let it play through. And then another that went really well with it, so I marked that for later adding to the playlist, and continued. Something I skipped. Then something I had never really listened to before but now realize is awesome, so I added that.

And then I got home and proceeded with my weekend. Any iPod playing I did over the weekend was with the kids in the car, and they requested a particular compilation CD from a friend and that's what we heard. In fact, I liked it so much I listened to another track on it this morning, before switching back to "shuffle all".

And that's when it got weird.

At first, I was like "Oh, isn't that neat, that's one of the songs I heard the other day. And then another, and I'm like "Jeez, two in a row, maybe this 'shuffle' isn't so random." And then another. And then one I didn't recognize, but would have skipped anyway. And then two, in a row, that I swear were in a row before. And then one that I remember being really torn about whether or not to add to that playlist. (Last week, I had decided not to, but changed my mind this time.)

All told, shuffle pulled up 12 songs (so far) in a row, that it pulled up the last time I shuffled. More than that, it seems to have pulled them up in the same order, including the first one I started with. It's possible I'm remembering that detail wrong, or maybe some of these are out of order, but if it's not exact, it's awfully damn close. Far closer than is warranted from a random selection of nearly 16K tracks.

I'm not sure what to make of it. Another playlist I suppose. Maybe somehow I accidentally selected something that made it not reshuffle. Maybe that's an easy thing to do and I've always somehow not done that.

That's why my subject line: Is this something your iPod has ever done?

Oh shit. I was just about to put the tracklist here, and accidentally hit the "back" button one too many times, and now they're gone. I can still remember many of them. I just hit "shuffle" and now it reshuffled. Dammit, I was really excited about sharing this list.

best reconstruction from memoryCollapse )

Bah, that's frustrating. The whole thing has a dreamlike quality to it. Like when you've got to search for something or construct something, and that's your "goal" in the dream, and you may not even be aware of why that's your goal, but it is. And weird things happen that make your goal start to come together for no particular reason. But then you make one little slip-up and the whole thing falls apart. And now you're frustrated with yourself. And maybe scared that it will have bad consequences in the dream, but not always. Certainly not with this situation.
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Subject:Hails.
Time:11:33 am
DSC05998
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Subject:Hail.
Time:03:34 am
Big hail, only slightly smaller than the proverbial golfballs. Larger than I've seen before. Lots of it. Woke up the kids and the car alarms. I got them all back to sleep, wonder when it's my turn.

I did get a couple good pics of one piece before it melted, at least. I hope the cars aren't messed up from it.
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Subject:St. Patrick's Day.
Time:07:20 pm
I don't generally do much for St. Patrick's Day. If I realize what day it is when I'm getting dressed, I'll make a point to wear green, but then I wear green very often, so that I frequently don't realize what day it is until someone compliment's me on my shirt or something.

Today I haven't worn any green, because I haven't seen anyone outside my immediate family and some strange man who came to pick up a broken-ass chair I put in craigslist's free section.

Just now, I decided to make myself a drink, and remembered we have some kind of nasty creme soda syrup that we bought for Flipside many years ago, for snow cones. Like 06 or 07, I think. Anyway, I left it with the snow cone maker at ice camp, and ended up finding it packed in my stuff when I got home. I guess they didn't want it either.

So... yes. A shot of gin, a teaspoon or so of this syrup, and some sparkling water. (Lime flavored, at least.)

It's not very good. The syrup is somewhat medicinal tasting, and a slight hint of toothpaste-like mint. The gin really brings all the mediciney flavors to the front, too. It's a pale green that looks vaguely fluorescent, and it bears an eerie similarity to a lot of popular depictions of radioactive glow. I have a blacklight somewhere, I should see if it does glow. That might be cool.
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Subject:So tired.
Time:02:25 pm
Great day at the Ren Faire yesterday, then up kinda late last night, then time zone change and dealing with house insurance and wheelbarrows and clocks and mimosas ... until about a half hour ago I'm just about falling asleep. And yeah, it's been tiring, but it didn't make any sense that I would be quite that tired ...

Then I realized that in all the stuff going on this morning, I forgot to make coffee. First time that's happened in a long time. Usually my first symptom is a withdrawal headache. Honestly, I think the warfarin has changed how I respond to caffeine, too. That's some strong medicine, literally.

Anyway, got some coffee with a little maca in it now and things are heading back to normal. (The new normal, that is.)
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Subject:When I grow up.
Time:02:10 pm
I think I might have actually figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

I want to work out a few more details before I start spreading it around. Well... a lot more details, actually.
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Subject:Broken Chair.
Time:07:13 pm
http://austin.craigslist.org/zip/3627055772.html

Meditate with me on how fleeting life and joy and chairs can be.

Yes, this is my chair. In a way, it's everyone's chair. But before it was broken, it was mine.
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Subject:Craigslist.
Time:06:06 pm
Posted two things to Craigslist today. One is our old TV Armoire for $20. It's pretty nice, but I want to get it out quickly.

The other was our old shoe shelf that I built. I figured no one would pay for it so I put it on the free section. 10 responses in one hour, including two people offering to pay me money - even after putting in the free section.

I guess I don't know much about the second-hand furniture market.

If you're looking for furniture, check it out yo:

http://austin.craigslist.org/fuo/3624307076.html
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Subject:Do they owe us a living?
Time:12:58 am
I'm thinking maybe they do. Either way, it's got a good beat and you can slam to it.

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Subject:Taking pictures with Louis CK.
Time:12:27 pm
I just came across this:



What is it I love most about Louis CK? He's so very human.

Quick summary if you don't want to watch the video: He doesn't like getting his picture taken with fans. So he says no when they ask, but then he actually has a conversation with them. He says 80% of the people are delighted, and 20% are disappointed.

He views that disappointment as a good life-lesson for those folks, but I'm not as certain they're "getting it". If you'd rather have a picture with someone than a conversation with them, you're basically reducing them to an object. A tourist attraction. Here's a picture of me next to the Washington Monument, and here's a picture of me next to some celebrity.

I would guess most of 20% disappointed people don't actually know anything about Louis CK aside from what he looks like. "Hey, isn't that dude famous? Get a picture." He's an object in their minds, a celebrity object.

Whereas sitting and actually talking to him, he suddenly becomes a human being. You can still moon over him as a famous person, but he's a person-person.

I would much rather have a conversation with Louis CK than a picture. Because I like him.
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Subject:Sucks.
Time:06:24 pm
Today was one of my worst days since I started at my new job. Mostly my own causing. Just not feeling good about it.

A week or two ago, I was bitching about something about my office, I don't really recall what it was just now. My wife, trying to be helpful, asked if there wasn't something I could do to change that particular situation, or maybe the overall situation. Maybe a different job. Maybe a different field. I realized that I am tiring of my chosen career somewhat, but I can't imagine anything else I would enjoy as much that would pay even a quarter of what I'm making now. In fact, I can't imagine anything else I would enjoy much at all. I don't want a week off. I want 6 months off.

Sometime between that and then, I was thinking about my wonderful kids. I had a break from them for a few hours, and I was getting some stuff done. But I was very conscious the entire time that it was just a temporary break. Even when I get a few days in a row, it's very very temporary. I'm grateful, of course, but I'm not me. I'm daddy. And I'm going to be daddy again, even when I take a short vacation and be a real person for awhile.

I guess I just feel trapped by the whole situation. Meanwhile the economy is falling apart and fascists roam the streets brandishing assault rifles. Or is that not for another year or two? Guess I might as well enjoy my fucked-up Tuesday while I have it, as next Tuesday's not likely to be a whole lot better.
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Subject:Packing reflections.
Time:12:06 am
Best Flipside yet.

I woke up fairly early on Sunday and packed all my own stuff. Stuck around to help the Amalgam Coast pack up. An early step is to take all the padding and pillowness and so forth from the loungy area and separate that so we can start dismantling the shade structures. One of the pillows was a bit damp, and I briefly wondered if we should be drying it out. And I thought maybe it'll mildew a bit. And maybe it must now be designated a camping-only pillow. I didn't know who owned it; M7 and June probably own more of it than the others, but most people brought a few things. (I had already separated my own stuff.)

So I got to thinking about special "camping" gear that's set-aside for Flipside. I remembered the old Pillowasis from back as far as 03 (or thereabouts), and how this collection of padding became this entity, and could be gifted around. And as far back as 02, Slack had a bunch of stuff. A bunch of people did. A bunch of us - not all of us, to be sure, but many of us, have a bunch of "camping" gear that is not really what most people think of as camping gear.

It's Theme-Camping gear.

Amalgam Coasters have all this gypsy-themed stuff. Candyland across the street from us have ... well, you get it. We've all got this wacky stuff - lots of it - that we only use a few times a year. A few people incorporate it into their house decor, but there are garages and attics and sheds and storage areas all across Austin - in fact, all across the country - filled with Burner-Specific "stuff".

And we take it out, set it up, and give stuff away for free. As much as we can.

And we have friends join our camps and help us do that. In fact, we're sometimes picky about who can be in the camp. It's not generally a formal competition, but there is a certain privilege to being allowed to help. For free. To pack stuff in, set stuff up, tear stuff down, pack stuff out. Come out to "build days" before the event to make even MORE wacky specialized stuff, the main commercial value of which is being more efficient at giving away things for free.

Food and drink we hand out. Music played as a gift on big sound systems we provide. Various other performances, services, items.

And we take it home and store it. And "civilians" might wonder "what's in that trailer"? Why do you have so much RED stuff in your shed? Why does your tiny backyard have enough wooden furniture to sear 85? Why do you have a 500 Watt PA instead of a stereo? What the hell is in all those rubbermaid bins?

And that's when I had a bit of an epiphany. I thought about the potlatches of the northwestern tribes, about the various festival customs of ancient and some contemporary cultures. And I realized how very, very sane what we do really is. And how rather sad and empty it would feel to not have something like this.

And I recognize there are lots and lots of "things like this" that people get involved in. I have no real interest in converting the entire bulk of society to becoming burners (though it would be interesting). But I wonder how many people would benefit so greatly from having something to prepare for, something to gear up for, like this. A way to be festive together.

I don't know how far on this tangent I want to go, but I recall one time at the end of an event, I think Burning Man, most of the theme camp was standing around talking about what we're doing, and how much money it costs us each, and they started throwing ballpark figures around, like two thousand bucks across 20-25 people, and how much money we could pool together if, instead of Burning Man, we all put that in a kitty and bought a business or sponsored starving children or something like that. How there's real power in the world to doing that. And what's wrong with us that we can't do that?

There was something like this on the Flipside list a few weeks back, too. I don't recall specifically what the issue was- I don't think it was about money, I think it was about time or volunteerism or something like that. But it was "Why do we _____ instead of something more upright/uptight?"

It's somewhat of a Calvinist attitude. If we didn't have this weakness in our heart, this need to have fun, we could do so much more, right?

Bullshit. What we're doing here is important. More than that, it's fun. I'm going to *spend* time and energy and money on this because it's satisfying and enjoyable. I'm also going to spend some money on things to make the world a better place. I like to think that what we're doing here has a little bit of both. And maybe Flipside leans a lot more on the fun end of that spectrum than on the world-improving end, but ... yeah, too far down this path.

The main thing I wanted to talk about was thinking about "What if most people in the country thought it was perfectly normal to have several cubic meters of special once-a-year stuff?"

And I know a guy that has, for instance, an entire 5x8" trailer all custom welded up just for cooking BBQ for his friends and at parties and stuff. So, yeah, he does that. But I know he feels a bit unique, and maybe a little lonely. His buddies don't mind paying for food and beer and stuff, but they're not really putting it out there like he is. And how much happier he might be if he had a little Flipside-like thing. (I don't remember why I didn't recruit him. Might not have been his thing.)

So, yeah. First LJ post in a long time. My hand is sore from typing. Or maybe that's arthritis.
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Three blind men and an elephant walk into a bar...
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