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You can have two types of a dream. You can have the thing that you want, but you don't REALLY have any intention of pursuing. Oh, you may make tentative steps toward it, you may take classes in related fields, you may TELL people what you're planning, but, really, you're not going to do anything about it.

And that's fine.

And then there's the other kind: the one that you actually work to make happen.

They're both fine things to have. The first one is something that you have to keep your mind interested, to help your brain play. It's a perfectly good thing to have as a hobby, as a daydream. Nothing wrong with it.

The second type has a lot more risk with it, much more work, and a much, much greater chance of getting hurt.

Incidentally, one of the side-effects of depression, at least for me, was that I was ONLY able to have that first kind of dream, and I wasn't able to have the second kind until I got it treated. Living with Lis also helped with that: she comes from a family which almost EXCLUSIVELY uses that second kind of dream, so, if I'd say something like, "Boy, it'd be cool to fly and become president of the world," she'd start looking up rocket-powered hang-glider designs and work out practical ways to control government leaders.

My dream -- which has swapped from Class 1 to Class 2 for me -- is to create a bar or club or some such, using my bartending skills, to, in effect, make a real-world Callahan's Bar.

Currently, my steps are to try to move into positions of more authority and responsibility in the beverage industry, which would start with getting an actual bar, restaurant, or club job, rather than the current function work (which, don't get me wrong, I really enjoy, but I've learned about what I can from it).

And so I listen to other people's ideas, too.

So, at the moment, I know of two people in my friends circle who want to open up nightclubs. One of them seems to just like the idea and talks about it occasionally. The other has financing, a business plan, and a lease agreement.

I just poked the second person to see if he needs a beverage manager. . .
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So, at Arisia, I saw a bunch of people who didn't recognize me. I waved at them, and they looked kind of blankly at me.

I'm not offended or anything: it's a result of the face that I have.

I have an average, normal face. And I like it.

My face shape is a pretty standard slightly-squared-off oval, the kind that you'd draw if you were drawing a (male) face, but not of anyone in particular. My nose has no notable characteristics about it. It sticks out about as far as average, is about as large as you'd expect a nose to be. I have the expected number of eyes -- two -- of standard size and shape, set about as far apart as is common. My eyebrows are eyebrow-shaped, my mouth is mouth-shaped, my chin is chin-shaped.

I have the haircut that my barber gives when you order a "Men's Regular". Along with a neatly-trimmed full beard of exactly the length and style that my barber trims it to when you buy the "Haircut and Beard Trim" combo. And my barber is a good, skilled, traditional barber from a traditional barber shop, whose "Men's Regular" and "Beard Trim" are exactly as neat and tidy as a good, skilled barber would traditionally make them.

I have male-pattern baldness that is following the male pattern. My eyeglasses are what you'd think of if you thought of the word "eyeglasses" without any adjectives.

I am short, so I'm hard to see in crowds, but that is mainly because of my shorter-than-average legs -- my torso is normal length, so, if you look at me, I don't look short. I'm fat, but not unusually so -- just enough that people's hind-brain sees me as "not any sort of particular threat, or target".

I like this about me. It's not without its downsides, but, on the whole, I like it.

If you know me well, you recognize me. But anyone else?

If you've met me a couple times, you'll have a hard time putting me in context -- my face doesn't have any specific trait that you can use as a handle to "index" it in your brain, but you'll feel that I'm familiar. If you've only met me once, you'll have a vague feeling that I'm familiar, but not know why.

And if you've never seen me before in your life, you'll STILL feel that I'm someone you vaguely know somehow.

And that makes me more approachable than most people. I feel familiar, friendly, even to complete strangers.

That's worth it to me.
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. . . I somehow managed to be exposed to all the news about Britney Spears. And I guess there's some schadenfreude going on about watching a celebrity self-destruct this way.

My reaction?

I want to take her home, put her in flannel footy pajamas, wrap a quilt around her shoulders, give her a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows, or a pint of ice cream, or both, and watch all the Muppet Movies in a row with her.
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I dreamed that someone was asking me trivia questions about languages, and the question was how you say "please" in German.

And I totally couldn't remember. I went through por favor, permisso (which may actually be "excuse me"), si vous plait. And I couldn't remember. So I turned to Lis and said, "I'm remembering various Romance language things, but not Germanic ones. Can you think of any English words of Anglo-Saxon origin that have a meaning similar to 'please' that might give a clue?"

Lis came up with "beg". I started rolling that around in my mind, with typical sound changes. "Beg" to "bed" to "bet" to "bit", to Bitte.

I have no idea if my brain actually worked something out, or if it's just a coincidence.

Anyway, when I woke up, that dream reminded me of something ELSE that I have been rolling around in my mind occasionally.

One day, I just started thinking about the words "retrospect" and "hindsight". Those two words are synonyms, and they are both compound words, made from two roots, one might "sight" and one meaning "backward." It's just that in one word, both roots are Latinate, and in the other, they're both Germanic.

And so, since then, I've been occasionally trying to think of other pairs of words that have that same relationship: words made from more than one root, in which, in one word, all the roots are Latinate (or Greek, I guess -- let's open the game up further), and in the other word, they're all Germanic/Anglo-Saxon/Old English. and in which the two words are synonyms. I haven't really come up with any good ones besides that first pair that inspired the thought.
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So, I found myself sort of having memories and images float through my mind, and they appeared to be basically pleasant, so I wasn't sure why I was feeling bad about them.

Then I started to pay attention to the memories and identify them. They were all images from various friends' weddings. From marriages that have since broken up.

Weird. And kind of upsetting how many of my friends have been divorced, as in no case was anyone a particularly bad person -- just bad relationships.
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It's true. When I want something, it is usually an intellectual want, or a mild, vague urge, but I rarely truly passionately desire something.

I'd like to claim that this is because of a careful Buddhist detachment, or training in Stoic philosophy, but, in reality, it's probably just a side effect of the type of depression I've had for years.

So it's kind of neat that I now really, really want something -- something I desire so much that my teeth hurt.

That's not a figure of speech, by the way -- I literally noticed that my back molars were somehow aching with desire for this. Dunno why that happens, but it did.

Bruce Galloway's Fantasy Wargaming generally considered to be a truly awful roleplaying system, and I don't disagree with this assessment. I attempted to play it once, in seventh grade, and couldn't make heads or tails of it -- and I later discovered that this was due to no fault in myself, but simply because it is just that poorly written and thought-out.

So I don't know why I desire the thing so much -- but I found a copy on AbeBooks, for $3.98 including shipping, and bought it. Other copies started at $1, but generally had shipping start at $3 -- there was one that was listed for $1 with $2.50 shipping, but it was listed as "Fair" condition, while the $3.98 with free shipping was listed as "Very Good" condition, so I decided to spend the extra 48 cents.

I don't suppose that the seller is going to make a great profit on this thing, but it gets it out of his or her stock anyway.

Yeah. I just spent nearly four bucks on a used copy of a game that everyone, including me, thinks sucks. And I can't wait for it to get here!!!
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See, I have a general rule. When possible, when arguing on the Internet, I prefer to make my arguments based on facts. I don't like making arguments based on, "Because I said so."

If someone wants to believe me because they know me personally and trust me, that's fine. I don't mind using my "personal ethos", as it were.

(Quick refresher in definitions: Aristotle defined three kinds of arguments used in rhetoric: appeals to emotion ("pathos"), appeals to facts, logic, and scientific method ("logos"), and convincing people of stuff because they trust YOU, personally -- they may not follow the logic themselves, but they trust that you do and aren't leading them wrong ("ethos"))

But I don't like using my "ethos of position". I don't mind when someone else does -- if [livejournal.com profile] enegim or [livejournal.com profile] rivka said something about how the human mind works, I'd believe them, because, well, that's their professional knowledge. But, if I make an argument about religion, I want to convince people based on my arguments, not "because I teach Hebrew school, that's why."

Which isn't to say that I HAVEN'T, in the past, resorted to "because I teach Hebrew school, that's why" -- specifically in that case where some people were saying idiotic things about how religion works, and I was able to point to a half-dozen religions that DON'T work that way, and they decided that, therefore, Buddhism and Judaism, for instance, weren't religions (sorry, if you definition doesn't fit reality, you're supposed to change your DEFINITION, not REALITY) and I eventually said, "Look, people pay me real, actual money to teach this stuff. They don't pay YOU real, actual money to teach this stuff," and, if I didn't CONVINCE them, I at least shut them up.

But, see, I DO sometimes want to pull rank and certification, and say, "No, sugar DOESN'T kill yeast, and most wines that aren't dessert wines really DON'T have any detectable residual sugar. And sulfur is NOT used to kill yeast to stop the fermentation process (it's used to kill mold while the grapes are growing, and to keep certain types of oxidation from happening in the bottle.)" And just to say, "Look, I'm WSET Intermediate certified -- Pass with Merit -- I took sixteen classroom hours in this stuff. I don't know EVERYTHING, and I certainly still can make dumb errors -- but, on the basics, I probably am pretty good. I really DO know this stuff."

But I don't do that. Because, well, first, I shouldn't HAVE to -- I should be able to convince people by just pointing out the facts. Second, why would they be impressed? Who knows from WSET Intermediate Certification? Why would they know, or care, what that is?

And third -- what if I WAS wrong? If I'm wrong based on the facts, okay, fine, I'm wrong, and I can see it, and I can say "oops" and correct myself, and go on from there.

But being wrong after pulling rank? DAMN, that would be embarrassing. It would not only make ME look bad -- it would make whoever gave me the certification look bad.

I'm willing to risk making myself look like an idiot -- I do it often enough. I'm comfortable looking like an idiot, so long as I can learn from it, and not look like an idiot in the same way, again. (One can always move forward and find new and more creative ways of looking like an idiot.)

But I'd rather not make the WSET look like idiots for giving me the certificate. So I don't try to win arguments by pulling out that piece of paper and waving it around.

'Cause the best thing it would do would make me look like an asshole. And the worst it would do would be to make me look like an idiot, AND an asshole.
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So, I was just thinking about my own emotional and mental health.

Seems to me that one's psychic health (using "psychic" to mean "emotional and mental", not, y'know "ESP-like") is partially genetic and partially from experience -- that is, it's both nature and nurture.

A bunch of my friends are psychically less healthy than they ought to be, because of incompetent parenting, or because of traumatic social experiences growing up. A bunch of my friends have had reasonably-decent childhoods, but are genetically predisposed to poor psychic health.

Now, I'm not THAT great mentally and emotionally -- but I think I'm better than my genetics would indicate. I have my problems, biochemical in nature, but I am more stable and able to form trustworthy friendships than I'd expect, given my biology.

So, that suggests to me that my parents did something right. And I've been trying to think about what lessons I learned from them that have led to me being as sane as I am.

One of the big ones, I think, was that my mother, whenever she yelled at me or punished me for doing something wrong, would ALSO explain that, "Just because I'm mad at you doesn't mean I don't still love you." So, for me, "conflict" =/= "abandonment".
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  1. So, I'm finally beginning to get really nervous about the trip we're going on Thursday. It will be the first time I've ever been out of the country, and I'm just plain scared. My hands are shaking, palms sweating, and mouth dry. I hate travel, and I'm going to try my best to have a good time. Because it's an awesome trip: London for a few days, then train to Italy for more time. We're even already packed, and our luggage is reasonably lug-able. So, now that there is nothing to be nervous about, I'm massively nervous.

  2. You know that song "Boston" by Augustana? About a woman who's sick of her life and wants to start over, so is saying that she'll go to Boston, away from California? The whole idea of Boston being the exotic, far-away place where you can start over, and California being the starting point you're getting away with so messes with me that I literally feel nauseous every time I hear the song. Not because the song's bad or anything, but because that idea of Boston being there and some place other than Boston being here is so disorienting that I get motion sickness.

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We were going over to visit a friend, Ben ([livejournal.com profile] vonbeck) and I, and Ben was driving. As we were driving over, we were talking about upgrading the main machine gun in his car, by replacing the projectiles with ones with lifting bodies, to give them longer range. They already had guidance fins, so they were extremely accurate at long-range, since they were steerable. But we weren't sure what the lifting body shape would do to armor penetration, so we were considering using discarding sabot penetrators in them.

Anyway, Ben didn't like driving on the roads, so he drove off the side of the elevated highway, plunged ten or twenty stories onto the roof of another building, drove off the building to a lower elevated highway, plunging another five stories, then drove off the edge of THAT highway to a ground level road which was just next to the home we were going to. I told Ben, "This is why your suspension is always shot." But we did save a lot of time.

Anyway, Scooby-Doo and Velma had gotten there before us, and Velma was telling Scooby that he had to break it off with Shaggy's girlfriend. But Scooby argued that Shaggy was totally ignoring her, because he was stoned all the time, and probably didn't even REMEMBER that he had a girlfriend -- certainly, that's how SHE felt about it. Velma said that he had to come clean, because Daphne and Fred were starting to get suspicious that SOMETHING was weird, and it would be better for Scooby to tell Shaggy what was going on, than for Shaggy to hear about it from someone else.

[livejournal.com profile] shanex was there, too.

And soon, [livejournal.com profile] deyo and [livejournal.com profile] mactavish showed up, and Ben showed off the shortcut that he'd taken, what with the driving off the side of the highways, that allowed us to get here before they did. [livejournal.com profile] mactavish didn't want to get sucked into the argument between Scooby and Velma, so she went inside to fix the washing machine that was broken. Unfortunately, although her General Repair skill was perfectly high enough to do this, she didn't have enough points of material to effect the repair. (Your Repair Kit can fix a certain number of hit points of damage, and, once it's used up, it's used up.) She thought, though, that in order to get the washing machine working, she didn't need to fix all the damage, and that really, if she fixed even two or five hit points, it would probably start running.

Now, since you can also loot Spare Parts from broken machinery, and Spare Parts are worth a certain number of Repair Points, just like Repair Kits, we looked around for broken machinery. So we decided to loot the washing machine for Spare Parts, which we'd then use to repair the washing machine, but it didn't work like that -- once you looted a machine, it changed from a Broken [whatever it is] to Junk, which is unrepairable, so that wouldn't work.

We looked around for other things that we could break and then loot, and we ended up smashing a tape measure, which we then looted for Spare Parts worth, like, about two Repair points, which [livejournal.com profile] mactavish used on the washing machine, but it wasn't enough to get the machine working, so we figured we'd have to go out and attack bandits and loot their cars and mecha for spare parts to fix the washing machine, which, frankly, is what we probably should have done in the first place.

Since it was just against bandits, I figured I didn't need to take direct control of the battle, and just sent my lance (that is what we call our team) out to fight the battle without me, which should have worked, but Juanita had turned into a lycanthrope and started attacking our side. We managed to win the battle, but we not only lost Juanita, but, like, two other lance members. Which shouldn't have happened -- really, we shouldn't have even taken a single hit. So I went back to the last save point, and, this time, I answered the door when the door-to-door saleslady came around, and when she tried to bite me, I was able to defeat the were-saleslady, although I eventually had to use my vampire powers to do it. THAT time, the battle went perfectly -- just a couple shots at the bandits' cars, and our lance won, and we managed to loot the cars for Spare Parts worth something like 45 Repair Points each, with which [livejournal.com profile] mactavish was easily able to repair the washing machine.
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So this story just popped into my head. It's really just a first draft, so if anyone wants to offer any suggestions, feel free.
Read more... )
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We are going to Italy this summer. We should have bought our plane tickets already; we haven't. Lis wants me to take on some more responsibility for this stuff, as I'm the person who's home during the day and generally have more free time than she does.

I don't want to.

Because I hate travel.

So, Lis asked me just now if I'd go through the Rick Steve's Guide to Rome, just to look at things that I'd find fun and want to do.

"Just so you know," I told her, "I'm now feeling nervous and scared."

"Why?"

"It's related to travel; I'm feeling fear and discomfort with the idea of even looking at the book for Rome."

"Hmm. How would you feel if I asked you to look through things for Western Mass, Lenox and the Berkshires and all that?"

"Um. . . let's see. . . bored and resentful, but not nervous and scared."

"I'm just trying to understand I work out the parameters.

"Yes, I understand that."

"How about New York City?"

"Also bored and resentful, but no fear yet."

"DC?"

"Now I'm starting to feel the nervousness."

"But when you WERE in DC, you enjoyed it."

"Yes, I know. Okay, I'm starting to feel scared and dizzy."

"Alright. Why don't you go sit down. Are you feeling too out-of-it to blog this?"

"No, I think I can do that."

"It might be a good idea to document this, just for future reference."

So I did.
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Every once in a while, memories just hit with the force of a physical impact. I'm fortunate in that I've had a good enough life that most of the time when I get these memories, they're of good things.

A lot of the time when I pick up a deck of cards, I'm hit with the memory of my father teaching me how to play gin. He and I haven't played gin since Thanksgiving, and I played badly enough that we needed a ruling from my grandfather about how to score it -- Dad knocked on gin, and as we were trying to work out points, we discovered that I also had gin. So we needed a ruling from Papa about whether this would count as an undercut. Papa found in favor of Dad.

Memory is strange. It's weird what is a strong memory, what is a weak memory. Some things leave deep craters, some things just glance off. Sometimes I have only the vaguest memory of a significant event, sometimes I have a trivial memory etched deep into my mind.

LARP dreams

Jan. 3rd, 2007 10:55 am
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Every once in a while, I dream that I'm playing in a LARP that is really awesome.

The problem is, because I wake up in the middle, I never find out what's actually happening.

The LARPS in my dream are usually what I call "WPI-style" -- one weekend long from Friday afternoon/night to Sunday afternoon, pre-generated characters, and, fundamentally, involving some sort of mystery as to what is ACTUALLY going on. When you show up, you only have a partial, and perhaps misleading, idea of what GENRE you're playing in.

In this game, players were put into teams, each team being, basically, a war-band. You were a group of companions who had been traveling and adventuring together for some time. And the setting was mythological.

My character was a Roman centurion, and my band included a big Gaulish or Norse barbarian, and some other people who I don't remember. Each of the rooms in the mansion/function hall/whatever which we were in was supposed to be an entirely different location.

I never found out what was really going on, but it seemed to be that someone was going around and trying to harm, distress, or kill mythological creatures who had formed romantic relationships with mortals. And our job was to stop that someone, since we actually LIKED the mythological creatures and their spouses (all NPCs) who we'd met.
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2006 was an awful year for the world, and for many of my friends. Yet this wasn't a bad year for me personally.

As far as the world is concerned: we're still in Iraq, and causing great suffering there. And I personally feel deep, personal guilt about that. I'm an American, and I love my country. And I identify with my country -- being an American is part of my identity; it's part of who I am. And because of that, when my country acts shamefully and wrongly, I personally feel guilt and shame.

This year has given plenty of opportunity for that.

I also suspect that we slid past the point of no return on climate change.

And, in more local situations, our upstairs tenant, [livejournal.com profile] marquisedea's mother, died of the cancer that has been killing her for the past three years. [livejournal.com profile] marquisedea is still living upstairs, and is welcome to remain -- and, now that it's 2007, we need to work up a lease for her to sign. I'll deal with that after the weekend.

Lis's grandmother died over the summer. That's not tragic -- her grandmother had a long life, and had been in great pain for many years -- but it is still quite sad.

My grandmother's Alzheimer's's is getting worse. My other grandmother had a triple-bypass (although, frankly, she's doing amazingly well -- she didn't have everyone over to her house for Christmas this year, because she said she didn't have the energy to host it, but, frankly, I think she could have had she really wanted to. I think she was just using the open-heart surgery as an excuse.) One of my grandfathers caught a cold.

Um. That last thing doesn't sound that serious -- but it's the first time anyone can remember him EVER getting sick. He took a sick day and didn't come into work -- actually, he took TWO sick days. I guess there are a lot of folks in their mid-eighties who don't go to work every day, and so, I guess, looked at that way, the fact that he took two sick days off work doesn't look so bad -- but it's terrifying to me. As far as I know, my grandfathers are immortal towers of strength -- the idea of one of them getting sick is scary.

But . . . for me personally? I've been tending bar again. I'm teaching Hebrew school.

But most important for me: I've finally found an antidepressant that seems to work. And that is the biggest thing that you can possibly imagine.
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Last night, I dreamt that Neil Gaiman had just written a new novel, and one of the characters had four cats, and they were based on James Nicoll's cats. I think Hillary and one other one were lifted verbatim, and the other two were composites.

Also, happy birthday to Mr. Gaiman; he was the lede bit on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" for today.
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Lis has been after me to post about this, about a conversation we had about a week and a half ago.

I made the comment, which she felt was interesting, that, as far as time goes, I can understand and feel only two measures of time: right now, and eternity. And I can't really understand or feel anything in between.

This makes it hard for me to plan things, since neither of those time periods is actually particularly conducive to daily life.

But, well, I can think of things as "past", and "future," and I can use a clock and a calendar to determine "fifteen minutes", "an hour", "a week", and "a year", but I have no instinctive understanding of those latter time periods. To me, ten years ago and last week feel about the same, and dinner and the grave feel approximately the same distance in the future.

This makes planning, and living, rather difficult.

Anyway, Lis thought that was interesting, and asked me to blog it. Some time in the past, which she states was a week and a half ago, but which I recall as "before now."
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So, [livejournal.com profile] matociquala posted about how she flunked Creative Writing twice, once in high school and once in college. And [livejournal.com profile] papersky mentioned that she also did badly in her Creative Writing classes.

I think they ought to track down their Creative Writing teachers, wave their collective awards and book contracts at he teachers, and gloat shamelessly, but they both have too much class for that. Well, [livejournal.com profile] papersky has too much class for that, anyway.

Anyway, I was thinking about MY creative writing classes in high school, and how badly they let me down. See, my classes were good. And I did well in them. And they taught me useful things.

Clearly, that's why I'm not a professional writer.

I'm really embarrassed that I can't remember my creative writing teacher's name right now -- I remember her face and her personality perfectly well, and her name will come to me some time after I hit post. Hell, I remember her lessons. And use them. She was really, really good, and loved what she did. I do remember my other favorite English teacher's name: Arthur Foisy, who, I just discovered upon going to my high school's website, is now a house dean.

The Creative Writing class was offered to seniors, and was split fifty-fifty between students who were honors-track and looking for an interesting elective-type class, and seniors who had flunked English at least once and needed to pass an extra English class to graduate. You needed to pass four years of English to get your diploma. Most folks did this by taking the normal four years of English, but, if you flunked one, or, for that matter, wanted to graduate in three years instead of four, you needed to double up. Your two main choices for doubling up were Creative Writing and Journalism.

This split helped both the CW and the Journalism classes immensely. Frankly, there weren't that many classes where honors/AP students and folks who flunked English WOULD learn together, and the dichotomy helped.

If I write essays competently, it's her fault. Hers and Mr. Foisy's, really.

Lucile Burt -- that's her name.

They both love literature and poetry -- reading it and creating it -- although Mr. Foisy preferred reading and criticism, and Ms. Burt preferred creating it.

But, see, they believed that EVERYONE could write and create, and probably should. And you didn't have to write and create for publication. I mean, you COULD publish, and that was fantastic if you did. But even if you never had any intention to publish anything, you'd still benefit from learning how to put a story, an essay, and a poem together, and from learning how to take them apart again.

I never had any intention to publish anything. Still don't.

Lis, for that matter, majored in Creative Writing in college, and did well at it. And earned an "A" in her high school class.

And, after college, she didn't write a word of fiction for ten years. Now she's started writing fanfic, but, again, she has no intention of going pro.

So, clearly -- if you want to be a successful professional author, you have to flunk Creative Writing.
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So, two nights ago, I dreamed that my father had a new table saw that he was showing me, that was so sharp that you could cut pieces of wood thin enough that they were translucent. He was very happy with this new table saw.

Last night I can remember two dreams. One was that Alan Rickman was giving a reading from Harry Potter book Seven on a beach somewhere in England. Or maybe Marblehead -- it wasn't clear. The whole beach was packed with families listening to the reading, and Lis and I were in a hotel room or something overlooking the beach.

I was the only person who noticed the huge wave coming in, and I tried to scream a warning, but there was no time. Hundreds of people were washed out to sea, although, since the wave didn't crest or anything, there was no crushing -- but the undertow picked up hundreds of people. I ran down to the beach to swim out and see if I could rescue people -- because of how the wave hit, I expected that everybody would be conscious, and anyone who could swim could get back, but there were a LOT of people, including a lot of children, and even infants. And Alan Rickman was wearing his Snape costume, which would NOT be good to swim in. . . Then I woke up.

The other dream I had was more useful. I dreamed that it was the first day of class at Hebrew school, and I was teaching Lesson One of my Jewish History curriculum that I've been working on all summer. And it did NOT go well. I just couldn't get the kids' attention, I couldn't get them to behave, I couldn't hold their interest.

Then I had the dream again, and tried different things, and it worked better. Still not perfect, but it gave me some insights into how I should teach specific students. (I had the 5th/6th grade class twice before, when they were the 3rd/4th grade, and when they were the 1st/2nd -- so I've taught these kids every other year since I've been teaching at TBB. This means that, even while asleep, I've got a pretty good idea how various students will react to things.)
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I dreamed that it was Shavuot (which is actually in the late spring, not late summer/early fall), and Cherie and Everett (my rabbi growing up and her husband), and Mom and Dad were with Lis and me at Temple B'nai Brith for services. Mom, Everett, Cherie, and Phil (the darshan for TBB) were all leading different parts of the service.

Anyway, at one point, one of them was giving a sermon about the importance in Jewish thought of community vs. individualism. See, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai, and how it was given to ALL the people as a group. And the sermon was about how, in Judaism, the community is the central thing, rather than the individual, as it is in American culture.

Then there was a disruption. 'Cause Sen. Lieberman was there for services, and he took this PERSONALLY. He thought that this was directly directed at him, and was saying that he was being selfish and self-centered by considering an independent run after losing his primary. Which was, in fact, a lesson that could reasonably be drawn from the sermon, but was NOT what the person giving the sermon had had in mind, since he or she (I can't remember if Phil or Cherie was giving the sermon, since, in real life, I've heard them both give lectures on this theme) had written the sermon long before the whole election thing, and, in any case, didn't particularly consider Joe any more, or less, than any other community member.

Anyway, Joe Lieberman was nearly in tears, and stormed out. My father followed him to talk to him and listen to how he was feeling, and they had a long talk. At the end of it, Lieberman had really started to examine his own motives, and was starting to think that, yeah, if he wanted to be the kind of person he wanted to be, he should support Ned Lamont. He was still unhappy and hurt, but Dad had really helped him out by listening to him.

September 2017

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