Monthly Archives: April 2010

Dreams are Mashups

I’ve figured it out. I’ve discovered what dreams are. They are mashups. Mashups of things that have happened to you during the day, things you’ve thought about, worried about, rejoiced about recently. Dreams are mashups of all of that and of things you read and see and taste and touch and hear.

What do you think about that Herr Freud? No sex involved.

Red & Blue by Doug Miller

Remember Doug? My multi-talented hair stylist/colorist & friend? He’s back to songwriting and has a fun and timely song ready for the world (and the upcoming elections).

Red and Blue

Here are the lyrics:

Red and Blue

It was logical to use red and blue
No one could foresee the damage it would do
Now we stand divided by a load of crap
And that terrible red state/blue state map

When it started I cannot say
But I will never forget November Y2K
When we stared at that damn thing every day
‘Till we began to see ourselves that way

And the media, whether left or right
Likes to keep it simple, paint in black and white
And the red state/blue state paradigm
Reinforced their dumb-ass storyline

Shape Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!
Wake Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!

Everywhere I go I have always found
The greatest folks and much common ground
In this promised land there is room for all
But I fear divided we will fall

And the problem now, from what I can see
Isn’t with the views of group A or B
But the ever growing tendency
To see the other guy as the enemy

Shape Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!
Wake Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!

Riding shotgun with Mom and Dad
On the way to Grandma’s, they got so mad
Which road to take, they could not agree
But there was never a doubt that they both loved me

So when Glen Beck’s off his meds again
In a war of words with Keith Olberman
Over who’s the true American
Can we admit that it’s way out of hand

Shape Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!
Wake Up! Grow Up! Wise Up! Rise Up!

And maybe next time use yellow and green-

Music and lyrics by Doug Miller © 2010
mp3 and lyrics posted with permission

Addictions or Interests?

Several months ago, over coffee, a friend and I were talking about addictions and she suggested that a relative of hers (who might have a drinking problem) who watched several films a day was simply substituting films for alcohol. That the alcohol and films were being used to avoid life. After thinking about what she said, not that I necessarily agreed with her, I wondered if anything anyone did, other than breathe could be considered an addiction. What about reading? Reading for pleasure takes you out of your everyday life. What about crafts? What about reading and commenting on blogs? What about writing a blog or a journal?*

My mother used to complain that I read too much. That I should get out and hang out with friends instead of reading constantly. Was I avoiding friends/life by reading? Was I addicted to reading? Was I a wordaholic? Did my reading interfere with the rest of my life? Maybe.

In 1995 we got our first new computer and I bought the game Myst. My kids were young and I’d just gone back to teaching. I remember one day during spring break playing Myst the entire day. Was I avoiding life that day? Was I neglecting my kids? Was I a mystaholic?

Then there was the year I discovered Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I read many of her books that summer. I remember thinking: at least I’m setting a good example for the kids — reading in front of them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this — I know I have a predisposition for addiction — it is in my genes. Maybe my friend is right. Maybe I, like her relative, use films, television, books, wine, and the computer to escape from real life. It’s pretty sad though, if that is true. I’ve got a damned good life. Why would I need to escape?**

*I know that an answer is balance and moderation. Read, but read in moderation. Watch films, but watch in moderation. Et cetera.

**I think I know this answer too — it is not life I’m trying to escape, but my reaction to it. My ever-present feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

Shiny Happy People

Disclaimer/Warning: This post is a generalization.

There was a time in my life that I wished I was liked by everyone. I admired those people who seemed so comfortable with others that everyone loved them. You know the kind of people I’m talking about — they are the kind of people that, when they are talking to you, you know you are the most important person in the world. They usually smile a lot. They ask you the right questions. They nod in agreement with you.

Then it occurred to me, if these people are like this with everyone — then none of us are the most important person in the world. We are all, in fact, unimportant.

I encounter one of these people often. She’s constantly cheerful and uses the word “awesome” a lot. “How are you?” she asks, seemingly genuine concern in her voice. Then when you tell her how you are she replies with, “That’s awesome!” She may ask how the kids are and when you respond that the kids are doing great, she responds “That’s awesome!” You ask how she is. How her son is. How work is. It’s all awesome!

At first I thought she really genuinely liked me and really cared. But then I’d overhear her talking to others and she sounded exactly the same. It’s hard for me to talk to her now — not because I feel just part of a crowd, but because she’s just too damn cheerful. It gives me a stomach ache — like when I eat too many jelly beans. At least her husband balances things out — he’s often a grump.

I no longer strive to be liked by everybody. I’m not often rude, but also not overly cheerful either. People eventually see through the cheer and wonder what you’re hiding or what you want. The woman, above, is a successful salesperson — I just wish she’d leave the awesome cheer at work and be real with me.

But then, maybe that is really who she is and I’m just jaded.

Waiting for the phone to ring and more

There are few things I hate worse than waiting for a phone call. Lately I’ve been doing that a lot.

Some of it is because a couple of people emailed me that they needed help doing something computer related. A couple of weeks ago a woman didn’t know how to sign up for an email list and I offered to help her if she called me. She emailed back, “Thank you very much!” but never called. I could have called her back, but she’s the one who needs something, I shouldn’t be begging for the opportunity to help her. The same kind of thing happened nearly a year ago — someone wanted help, said they’d call but never did. It happened again last week. A friend is directing a play and asked for help getting publicity. I offered to help set up a blog and he wrote back he’d love that and that he’d get in touch. I gave him my cell number and have not heard back — although I saw him on Sunday and he thought we could talk Sunday but we didn’t get a chance. He said he’d call, but didn’t call today. The thing is — I’d be glad to help these people, but waiting for the phone to ring is a pain in the ass.

Another call I’m waiting for is from the plumber. Actually from two plumbers. I called my regular plumber on Thursday evening about a clogged up kitchen sink, but I think he’s broken-up with us because Dean thought he caused a problem with the bathroom sink and when he came back wanted us to pay for a second call. I thought Dean was being unreasonable. Dean thought Mr. Monk was. When our regular plumber didn’t call back by Friday afternoon, I called a plumber recommended by a neighbor. This plumber should have called this morning, but didn’t. I’ve had to take my cell phone into the bathroom with me when I shower, just in case it rings. Tomorrow I’m calling Roto-rooter. Forget these personable plumbers recommended by friends and neighbors. They obviously have enough to do and don’t need my money.

We’re also waiting to hear from a tutor. Andrew finally agreed to getting some help with parts of the SAT. Dean talked to a tutor (recommended by a friend) who suggested he start on Tuesday (that’s tomorrow) and we’ve not heard anything back.

On top of waiting for the phone to ring, we’ve had problems with the land-line phones. If you talk on them for more than a few minutes the line gets crackly. Verizon says we need to troubleshoot so we’ve unplugged all but one phone — to see if we hear crackly sounds on it. We don’t get enough calls to figure out if it is crackly or not. (And if you’re thinking we’ve not heard from people because of the phone problems — we’ve given out our cell number, not the land-line).

In addition to a clogged up kitchen sink, crackly phone lines, and people not getting back to us we’ve got ants. Not just one kind of ant, but at least two different kinds of ants crawling around our kitchen. We tried baiting them, but the seem to not be the kind of ant that likes the sweet bait.

Oh, and we also have grain eating moths that have an uncanny ability to get into bags of rice that have been put into a second bag of rice. I guess they have sharp teeth.

I wish we could just knock down he house and start fresh.

The New Adventures of an Old Bird

Ok, not really new adventures, but I’ve begun a couple of new blogs — one a photoblog — updated a few times a week and the other a 365 project (haha, I know — I never finish those, do I?) in which I write about books I’ve read — hopefully updated daily. (shut up)

I’m most likely doing all that because I’m avoiding something. Work perhaps? Maybe life in general. I’ll post here of course.

Anyway here are the links — they are also in the link section of my sidebar.

Up Close and Personal

Cedar Waxwing Reads

Our World Famous Folding Organ

World Famous Folding Organ
World Famous Folding Organ
World Famous Folding Organ -- Folded
World Famous Folding Organ -- Folded

I wish I knew the whole story about why we have an antique folding organ in our family room, but I don’t. What I know is this, someone in the family, most likely my father’s youngest sister, Corrine, used to play this organ on Sundays in church. She had it at her house for years, then gave it to my dad. It took up room in their house so my mom asked me if I wanted it. Of course I did. I don’t know anyone else with a World Famous Folding Organ in their family room, do you?

As you can see from the photos, the organ looks more like the keyboard of a piano in a plywood box than an organ. That’s the point, I guess. This organ can fold up into approximately a 3′ x 2′ x 1′ box with a handle.

The world famous pedals
The world famous pedals

To play the organ you need to move your feet up and down on pedals. If you’re like me and cannot walk and chew gum at the same time, this presents a problem.

I think you also need to do something with the two metal doodads that fold out and go on either side of your knees. Maybe they are like the “stops” on regular reed organs — maybe the pitch goes up and down. Can you tell I know nothing about organs or music, for that matter?

I accepted the organ on the pretext that Clare wanted to learn how to play it. My dad used to ask me if Clare was learning how to play the organ every time we spoke. I don’t think he really cared that we took the organ, but he seemed really curious about it. She never did learn, but once a couple of her friends who could play pianos used it and it sounded really good! I however, did not sound so good when I tried it out. Here I am playing the only song I know how to play, Mary Had a Little Lamb, just to show you how the organ works.

You can listen to other people play folding organs on YouTube if you so desire.

There’s a little information online about the Bilhorn Brothers and their World Famous Folding Organs. I liked this advertisement for it. The poem is a little creepy, on a couple of levels.

What Patrons say of our ….. Telescope Organ

World Famous Folding Organ
World Famous Folding Organ

They call our organ “Baby”
But say it’s not too small
For gentleman or lady
The sinners lost to call.

They also call it “Beauty”
Because it folds so nice.
It’s ready quick for duty
You need not fold it twice.

Then others say, “It’s handy,”
The handiest in the land,
And sometimes call it “Dandy,”
Since carried by one hand.

One said, “It’s tough as leather,
And surely it’s the best:
When tried in outdoor weather
It always stands the test.”

The tone is also sweeter
Than others of its kind;
Besides the organ’s neater
Than any you can find.

One writes, “It’s worth your knowing,
The organ’s very fine,
No matter where you’re going
You’ll take it every time.

Evangelists and teachers,
Believe us, it is true,
Including local preachers,
It’s just the thing for you.

To those who would one purchase
We say, don’t count the cost,
They’re four times worth their value,
There’s nothing to be lost.

Then send your order and today
We’ll ship it C. O. D.
The organ you will find O. K.
And be well pleased, you see.

–Johnny