Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where's Jung When You Need Him?

Last night I managed (with the help of an exhausting week and two glasses of wine with a very late dinner) to get a few hours of very deep sleep. I was so far down into my subconscious that when the phone rang* early this morning, forcing me awake, it still felt like I was taking a freight elevator slowly up into consciousness.

And while I slept, I dreamed. It was rather interesting, so I thought I'd write about it. All of my dream books are packed, so I'm not really sure what it means, but thought it made for an interesting story nonetheless.

This is what I dreamed.

There was a beach. It wasn't a packed, sizzling summer beach, but more of the kind of beach that families would go to in the fall. The water looked cold, it was windy, and there were some tree branches reaching over the stretch of sand. I was watching myself walk on the beach.

There was a wooden family house near the beach. I think it was a house where my family was living (but not in real life). I know it had multiple stories to it and a kitchen, because I did one of those strange stunts that you seem to typically do in dreams... The whole "I know that there is a stair case, but it seems more logical that I should swing over the banister upstairs, catch onto the hood above the stove and slowly lower myself into the kitchen where 12 people are trying to cook" logic.

There was a bus - a yellow school bus - and my sister was with me on it. We were grown up and we were talking excitingly because were were supposedly going to go to a presentation at a large church, but I forget what the speech was supposed to be on. For some reason, we were excited to also go to Burger King either before or after (even though I am about as anti-fast food as you get). The bus stopped in between the church and a university and I lost Jen in the crowd. I switched from observing the dream to active participation (the kind that you just know is causing you to thrash around and whimper in real life, and you feel a bit ridiculous for it even in the dream). "Jen! Jen! Jen! JEN! JEN! I lost you!" Finally she came running up next to me. She had changed clothes and hidden her money.

There was an all white, rather sterile looking apartment building/hotel. I was in there with some of my current co-workers, but ones I don't really work with that often. We were arguing and fighting over how work should be divided and who should do what and generally all the typical battles. Then for whatever reason, the conversations all turned contentious and we were yelling at each other about who said what about whom, and it was too tiring for me to continue that conversation, so I left. I ran into a large man on my way out. I don't work with him, but I understood that he had just vacated his corporate apartment because he thought it was haunted or something. He thought I'd like to see it. So, I went, but I left him in the hall.

There was an open, airy, almost empty condo that you could walk from the front door in the building's hallway all the way back to the outside. I understood that this was the same place as that beach house from earlier in my dream. It was haunted, but I wasn't scared. I saw little transparent girls with dresses on running around and hiding in the closet. I walked through all the rooms until I reached the back. The man had left in a hurry and left some of his clothes folded up in the sun room. A blue plaid button down collared shirt was on top of the pile. A cleaning man came in and was surprised to see me there. I quickly walked out again.

There was an apartment in the upper floor of a building, and a man lived there with me who never spoke, but was always there. The room had yellow and wood colors. Once when I came home, he was in my garbage can eating flies. (And this is especially when I knew I was dreaming, because if I had flies in my garbage can, I'd throw the entire thing out - man and all). He got out of the garbage can when he saw me and stood next to the counter looking at the mail. I spoke to him and had the impression that this was the first time I had done that. I didn't ask him to leave, but I held open the door to see if he would. He didn't. So, I left again and locked the door behind me.

*If you are like me, you will be distracted through most of the rest of this post, because you will be wondering who called. Answer: I'm not sure, because I didn't answer and there wasn't a message (and we don't have caller ID on our home phone). So, with that resolved for the psychotically curious, I'll go on.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Elora has a crush...

...on some dude from the Serengeti.

I tried to explain to her how difficult long distance relationships can be. I also pointed out the fact that he already has a harem of lionesses, and that she is a sophisticated city chick and he lives in the wild.

She won't listen.

Elora: Haven't you seen Titanic? That totally worked out.
Me: Honey, he died at the end of that movie.
Elora: You don't understand me at all.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

So, after a few weeks of relative calm and regularity, my work again starts up with some wacky travel schedules. I'll be in the Southern part of the country towards the end of this week into next, so today was my day off.

Couldn't have picked a better day!!

One week into January and we've got bright sunny skies, a great breeze and mecury into the 60's! Seems like weather suited for a walk!

I posted earlier my first attempts at shooting with my newly acquired Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Prime lens and by the end of the excursion couldn't tell if my lens was faulty or I was just having one terrible day as a photographer. Not having touched it since, I threw in a fresh CF card, dropped the 50 prime onto the 350D and headed out into the warmth.

The results were OK. I didn't have the huge failures of focus I saw previously, but there did seem to still be some random occasions where the focus I had in the lens didn't seem to be there when I zoomed into the pixels after the shot.

This one of the street sign turned out nice and sharp and exposed properly (straight out of the camera, no post-processing except for a resize for web).

These others looked good, too, although they have been tweaked in Paint.NET (get's free!). These are of the big mural along Callowhill Street between 2nd and 3rd.

I wandered North and found myself back in the vicinity of the old Space/Motion venue (ravers from back in the day will know of it's legendary status in rave culture [here is it's story], but nothing but weeds and chipped paint adorn the walls now. (Even as a couple, Kendra and I have some very fond memories of this place, before we ever thought about moving to Philadelphia from Minnesota! We partied like it was 1999 -literally!- here to bring in the new millenium).

I did however, find one lingering piece of Philadelphia-based electronic music imagery: This faded and peeling promo sticker for Dieselboy's Project Human album stuck on an even more extremely faded "No Parking" sign on a telephone pole. The interesting thing is that this album came out probably within months of Space/Motion closing it's doors. Wow, I'm old! I've been into this music since I was 15 and a whole generation has now come and gone......

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Sometime last night, Jen and Jason's dog, April, died in her sleep. My sister found her this morning when she went down to see why she hadn't come upstairs. I can't even imagine how they feel, but I do know they didn't need one more thing to go wrong.

It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say that in our family, we consistently treat our animals better than we do each other. Jen frequently speaks the position that "our animals don't hurt us; they only love us." I know April , along with her two other dogs, have carried her through some very difficult times already.

I am very sad that I can't be with her right now. Our hearts are with Jen and Jason, and we are very, very sad.

[A memorial moment for 2 friends now reunited.]

If you plan to have a heart attack in Old City, don't do it on Sunday.

(or "Jesus loves me, so the rules do not apply.")

Maybe I'm just bitter. Maybe I resent the not insiginicant number of parking tickets we have received for just trying to park near our house. Or maybe I should have realized long ago that we could have invested the money spent paying all those violations to the Lord's work if only we were church goers.

You see, for some reason, every Sunday, parking rules go out the window to allow for church parking. This is not an anti-church going post, however. I happen to think the many churches right around our house are beautiful. I'm glad people attend them. From my perspective, however, it occurs to me that parking regulations are in place for safety reasons, and if they aren't, then we should be allowed to park wherever we want throughout the week (which would save me many chilly walks in the dark from my car).

If any emergency vehicle tried to get through during church hours, it wouldn't be able to, which is likely OK, since the health of all those in the community is no doubt being remembered in fervent prayer continuously by all of the people blocking said emergency vehicles. I suppose the theory being that it is easier to remove the need for emergency vehicles than to find another place to park.

We went grocery shopping this morning, and returned to this situation (like we do every Sunday). For some reason, it was too much for Tim this time, and he printed out fliers to post on some of the cars parked in the places that were most blocking the free flow of traffic. I found the fliers hilarious, but didn't want him to do it. But who knows, maybe it will get the point across.

From this point on, I am no longer going to give Tim allowances for his lack of assertiveness...

[Tim's Note: If I were truly assertive, I would have gone out and confronted those people face-to-face after they came out to their cars after worshiping the God that allows them to disregard city ordinances (my flier references certain verses in Romans 13). My actions may seem cynical to some, especially in regards to something so trivial as parking, but, as I distance myself further and further from any organized religion, the inconstancies of Christian dogma, the ridiculous pick-and-choose approach to theology and the life-in-a-bubble problems really start to become more evident. ]

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Do Not Let Us Be Infected By Our Own Propaganda

One has to give Tim credit for trying (and succeeding!) this weekend... I was taken on two dates. Two dates planned by Tim (both of which I was also accompanied by him). Remind me of this fact when he's gone for most of the rest of the month and I am sulking.

Friday night we went to dinner at a cool Belgian/Australian restaurant called Zot in Society Hill. It was really fabulous food and wine and a nice (albeit cold) walk.

Tonight we went to see a play put on by the Lantern Theater Company - Anthony Lawton's adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. The adaptation was great. The entire play only had two actors - Screwtape and his assistant, Toadpipe. There was also a screen on which various pictures or quotes would flash as Screwtape was talking to Wormwood.

To break up the dialogue between Screwtape and Wormwood (who was offstage and not audible), there were funny little interactions between Screwtape and Toadpipe as each new letter from him was delivered.

There was a tap dance to Prodigy's "Their Law", a solo dance performance by Toadpipe to "She's Nineteen Years Old", a tango type dance to the Squirrel Nut Zipper's "Hell", a S&M dance complete with a large whip that I swear was awful close to clipping us more than once, and several other performances.

We really enjoyed the play. Anthony Lawson had some notes in the program about the adaptation that I thought were very well-expressed. Here is an excerpt from that:

Based on his preface, I do not think that Lewis meant The Screwtape Letters to be a work of demonology -- he wasn't primarily interested in explaining devils, or in attributing the world's evil to devils. I think Lewis uses devils, as a conceit, to write a work of theology -- that is, to write a book about God -- and to write a work of psychology -- that is, to write a book about the psyche, or soul.

The Christian tenet that seems to most interest Lewis is Love. And the psychological -- i.e. "spiritual" -- crisis that most interests him is our failure to love.

The alternative to love, Lewis argues, is the paradigm of dominance.

So, as appropriate, we'll leave this post with a quote from the book itself.
"The safest road to hell is a gradual oneā€”the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
-C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year - 2008!

Continuing with the theme of completely non-standard holiday celebrations, let me recap to you how Tim and I have spent some of our New Year's Eves since getting married**:

- Driving home from being out of town and missing the ball drop, because we couldn't find parking. (I actually think this happened twice).
- Apart because Jen and Jason had come up for the event, Jen was sick (not drinking sick, legitimately sick), so Tim ended up taking her ticket to the party and I took Jen home. (Poor sister)!
- Half-crying because it was the first year after Dick Clark's stroke, and it broke my heart to see the change in him. (At the same time, I was super proud of him for continuing on).

We aren't extremely superstitious, but there definitely is a feeling that how you ring in the New Year dictates to a certain extent how the rest of your year is going to go. So, I always hated when things like the above happen. (Except-the-time-with-my-sister- because-I-love-spending-time-with-her- even-if-she-is-puking-on-my-shoes- and-no-one-will-pick-us-up-in-a-cab-to-take-us-home- because-they-think-she-is-drunk- and-I'm-grateful-when-one-of-them-finally-shows-mercy-because-it-is-freezing- and-Jen-has- my-coat-because-she-wore-a-tank-top-and-I'm-afraid-she-might-die).

Well, this year we went to a proper party with friends, and it was great! Jon and his wife Amy invited us to their New Year's Eve party which had an Indian food theme since they are leaving shortly for an extended trip around India! Jon works with Tim, and I liked them from the first time I met them. They are such beautiful, relaxed, laid back people that it would be very hard NOT to completely fall in love with them.

Tim and I both made it back from work on the 31st at a reasonable time, found parking in Old City (right by our front door Woohoo!), cooked up the ingredients I had prepared earlier, and then took a cab to their house in Fairmount.

Tim brought some bottles of Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield Ale and I brought my trusty flask of JD. It takes serious dedication to Jack to drink it straight, but it takes serious dedication to sobriety to drink only a single beer on New Year's Eve (Kendra = not a beer drinker), and my dedication to Jack is stronger.

[Cell Phone pictures on New Years Eve!]

The party had a great vibe. The music was fun, the food was wonderful, and there were a ton of interesting people that they had gotten to know through their jobs, school, just around, or some band or another that Jon had been in. People were mingling and even started dancing after awhile.

Closer to midnight, Jon projected the TV onto the wall so that we could do the countdown. There were lots of high fives and New Year's kisses. It was really great!

We left soon after midnight and walked home. Although it is a fairly long walk, no vacant cabs seemed to be coming, and on the plus side, we got to observe all the very interesting New Year's Eve behavior of people. As I have in the course of my life been on several places along the continuum of drunkenness, I can't judge. But I can be amused! :-)

So, now it is the first day of the New Year. We are just going to straighten things up around the house, catch up on our bills and correspondence with people, and I'll cook a real meal today again too. :-)

Happy New Year to all of you!

**-Playing Scotland Yard with wonderful friends in Hershey, PA was actually one of the more fun and non-bizarre New Years Celebrations we've had together. (The full post from '06)