Talking About Odd Dreams

With COVID a lot has changed. What we eat. How we socialize with people. Where and how we earn our daily bread. And how we dream.

I’ve always felt my dreams were a little more bizarre than normal. For one thing, being chased by monsters or space aliens has never been a nightmare but an adventure influenced, I’m sure, by television shows I grew up on like Star Trek and Doctor Who. For another, the likehood that anything I dreamt about could be easily explained to another has always been low. But now?

This morning I had a dream that I was on a motorcycle riding next to someone down a long dirt road with pastures of dry dirt on both sides. Ahead were two horse drawn carriages. I wanted to pass but they were riding side by side, very fast, so I couldn’t pass. Worse, there were now several cows racing behind them. So we veered our motorcycles into the pastures which were covered in so many cow pies we were bound to step in them (I was no longer on a bike at this point but walking and/or on a horse myself).

We finally reach the ranch where the carriages are headed. I meet two workers in the field but both are native Spanish speaking and I don’t remember how to say, “Parle vous Espanyal?” in Spanish. Someone else comes up and invites us into his house.

From there on a lot is a blur but it was clear we were stuck there until we could get this shit off the motorcycles and would have to wait for awhile. Meanwhile, in the house, I’m making a mess of things. Spaggeti sauce on the carpet. Mud all over some items we’ll be taking back. Little rescue critters everywhere (which has become a recent theme in my dreams). My hands are covered in some kind of yuck at all times and the guy tells me he’s old school and has no sink so it’s outside ot use the high power water hoses some of the workers are pointing at anything that’s covered in mud and shit and I can’t walk anywhere without the noxious mixture ending up on my feet.

Worse, depsite the owner’s hospitality, I’m mortified by the family and friends coming and going from the house–but no one is wearing a mask. At some point I decide, “Fuck it!” I’ve been there so long I’m likely infected with COVID by now and hell, it’s the first time I’ve been around people for so long I’m willing to let sanity go to the wind.

The dream must have gone on and off for several hours, as has become the norm for many of my COVID related dreams surrounded by anti-maskers. And it seems in my age, my dreams have often become obvious, both to me and those on the outside. Perhaps my brain is too bored with the monotony forced upon us by global circumstance. All I have to say, brain, is: Less cow pies, more hot sex fantasies!

Okay, I’m done!

For those of my thousands of followers reading this, I’ve finally finished writing a bunch of PowerShell code to allow me to post blog entries from my Linux server. When I say “Linux Server” I mean a “server-server” where everything is command line. There’s no Graphical User Interface.

So why do I have a machine that’s only command line? It’s simple. For years I’d install Ubuntu on various machines or in VM’s on other machines and while I’d use it, I always ended up doing things via the GUI. I didn’t learn a heck of a lot. So I put the server version on this ancient laptop (with an SSD mind you) and it’s been awesome. I’ve been forced to google the hell out of things as I learn how to do thins like allow the mouse to work, connect to mail servers, get dotnet to work, etc. It’s been a great experience–though time intensive. For example, I’d say the entire work to now have the ability to publish to my website has taken probably hundreds of hours–though not at once. That’s the joy of building up one piece at a time then seeing how all the puzzle pieces combine.

Okay, I’m going to post this, delete all the test posts, and see if HTML means anything when I post via this tool. Wish my luck!

Proposed AMENDMENT (XXVIII) to the Constitution of the United States

AMENDMENT XXVIII
Section 1.
The third and fourth paragraphs of Article II, Section I, of the Constitution of the United States, are hereby repealed.
Section 2.
The third and fourth paragraphs of Article II, Section I, of the Constitution of the United States is hereby superseded as follows:
Legally eligible voters in their respective States shall vote by Ballot for two Persons. Each State shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall certify and transmit sealed to the Seat of Government of the United States, directed by the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Popular Votes counted; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Popular Votes shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
The Congress may determine the Day on which the Vote is counted; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Up Late

Working. I had a feeling something like this would happen. As a result I took more breaks than usual. Boom! Around 13:46pm I got a message from someone. The roof, the roof, the roof was on fire. Since then I’ve had to refactor some code and run some tests that are taking hours (10+ for one). Refactored more of my code to speed things up a bit. Not sure when I’ll be able to go to bed. As a general rule, IT doesn’t learn about the fire until it’s consumed the entire roof.

I spent part of my day working on my book in the Mac application Scrivener. It’s a professional application for writing books and screenplays and can compile projects into any number of formats including E-books which I can copy directly to my Kindle for proofing. I hope to some day learn how to write a screen play, but for now I’m working on my first book which I plan to self-publish by the end of the month.

When I was young I wanted to be a published author. Maybe it was because both of my parents were teachers. Maybe it’s because as a family we’d often sit around on a weekend or during vacations reading books. Maybe it’s because my dad published a handful of novels while we lived in Australia. Whatever the case, it’s been a dream of mine.

In my late teens and early twenties I spend a good number of years writing on a regular basis. Mainly I wrote short stories and poetry and sometimes I submitted them to magazines for publication. I didn’t have much of a self-esteem so only a few rejections ended that, but I kept writing, at least for other people, and worked on a book, which I’ve come to revisit more recently, now that I have more maturity under my belt.

Over the last year I’ve been taking and massaging my old short stories. All but one now are (nearly) ready for publication. That story, my favorite, will likely take me another week to edit before I write introductions to each. The book will come in at just around one thousand pages, something that totally blows my mind. And I plan to put it online for sale as an E-book for around $3, paperback for $4. I don’t expect to sell a lot of copies but then again, the goal is to be published, even if it’s self published. And frankly, I’ll be pretty happy to hold a copy in my hands.

Goodnight, for now. Going to wind down my early morning work and crash here on the couch.

Changes

Assuming I win Powerball and the my dream house is still available, I plan to only make two changes to the inside.

First—and while I love the cinema room the way it is—I’d have it completely overhauled to look like the bridge of the Enterprise-D. Assuming the room is large enough I’d have two rows of seating. The first row would be comprised of two chairs designed almost identically to those of the conn and ops positions but the console would be redesigned as desks so they can be used for using computers via the main screen. The back row would be leather theater seating for watching films. And if there’s still room left over the back wall would be identical and contain real computers folks could use. In other words, it will be a working bridge and in the uber scenario a Star Trek simulation could be designed to allow a group of people to explore the universe.

The other thing I’d do, and this is a big if, is invite Banksy over. There’s a beautiful room with a bar and a brick wall but that wall needs an overhaul. Who would I love more than to do something with it than him. And what would I ask him to do? Something progressive. Something to remind me and visitors of our responsibility towards the rest of humanity. A daily reminder that with great privilege comes great responsibility.

The Saturday that was a Friday

Woke up this morning and could have sworn it was Friday. Needless to say, it’s felt like a long week. Made the mistake of sleeping without my earplugs last night and woke up around 4 or 5am to one of the next door neighbors going to work. This particular neighbor is a real asshole; they’ve woken me up a number of times. One time they were out by their car “talking” with someone at bar volumes for about half an hour. This morning they had their windows down and stereo blaring. I don’t know what they’re trying to prove, but 5am? Really? I feel like I’m living in an apartment again.

Obviously I’m a little frumpy and still trying to wake up. Would have some coffee but it often makes me feel strung out. Just gotta take a shower and get to it.

Feeding the homeless

We do a lot of things to feed the homeless. Most notably, seems like every Thanksgiving and Christmas everyone comes out to help. The rest of the year. Not so much. And I keep wondering what we can do to feed those without throughout the year.

Here’s what I’d do as a rich mojo:

  1. Every month I’d work with one restaurant. I’d ask them to close to regular customers for a day and cook as many meals as possible and I’d work with services like DoorDash and GrubHub to deliver them to those in need. I’d of course pay for each meal and delivery charges.
  2. I’d publicly challenge other millionaires in the area to do the same. There has to be at least 29 more that are capable of footing such a bill on a monthly basis and it would be pocket change to them. Plus it’s tax deductible!

The result?

Hundreds of meals every day of the year for those in need.

Even better: Guaranteed income for restaurants, especially those currently struggling with COVID restrictions.

It’s a win-win-win!

A Republican Agenda

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last six months or so, you may have noticed that there hasn’t been a second COVID stimulus package. While there’s been much talk, it comes down to the fact that the Republican held Senate wants to build into the bill articles that prevent individuals from suing companies (particularly employers) if they catch COVID while on the job, even if said company fails to adhere to CDC guidelines.

This is unacceptable.

On the flip side, there’s a push from these very same people to pass legislation that would allow individuals to sue FaceBook for offensive content that other users post. In other words, I could share a news article sharing information about something Trump said, it offends some Qanon supporter, and they could sue FaceBook.

People post billions of things to FaceBook every day. To expect any social media company to be able to reasonably vet every single post would bring these services to a grinding halt. And that’ just part of the problem.

The other part is about personal responsibility and accountability. If I, say, post something libelous, shouldn’t I be the one to be legally responsible for such behavior? Opening litigation against FaceBook only means sue happy people will start doing this to make money and again, it will potentially cripple a tool that millions find invaluable.

Going back to my original comment about the senate, I find it hypocritical that they’d put a stop to people needing help during a pandemic so businesses that aren’t actively protecting their employees can get a free pass. What they’re saying is essentially that you or your loved one, who needs to go to work to pay the bills, must accept any risk imposed by an employer who would rather save money than ensure they’re following CDC guidelines. Yet at the same time the Senate is also saying if someone posts something to FaceBook then FaceBook is legally liable, not the person posting the content. It’s a disgusting demonstration about how they view “responsibility”. Corporations aren’t responsible for anything related to COVID, even if it means someone dies, while other corporations are responsible for users who abuse their services. To be blunt, there are already laws in place if people post libelous content, threaten people online, and so on and so forth. Use those. In regard to preventing the government from helping citizens in need so corporations can continue to put people at risk, that’s just unethical and inhuman.

Disgusting.

Buy My Old Houses/Apartments for Charity

I’ve always had a deep connection with the places I’ve lived. Whether they’ve been a farmhouse in Central Oregon or a dump falling apart and musty in Eugene, the walls and ceilings that surround me touch my heart and become part of me.

If I were to, say, win the current Powerball, which is upwards of 200 million, one of the things I would do is purchase each of these properties.

Next, I would fix them up.

While they are being worked on I would spend time thinking about each. What did they mean to me? What memories do I have of them? What were the good times? What were the bad? What did I learn about life, the universe, and everything?

For example, the first house I moved to in Eugene…well, it’s not a short tail. I was suicidally depressed when I “ran away” from home at a more than ripe age of 17 or 18 and had gone there with little but a pack of cigarettes and the clothes on my back to be with my recent high school sweetheart. I didn’t know where else to go. My time there was often fraught with emotional struggle, questioning, personal exploration, and the rare and usually uninspired suicide attempt. I was lost and fears of homelessness plagued me. Indeed, given my constant mental and emotional strain combined with an inability to sleep, I spent many nights simply wandering Eugene, meeting people of all stripes on the streets, striking up conversation, or simply sitting in a park staring at the moon. Eventually, after decades (probably less than a year, but it felt like an eternity) I started attending college again and slowly, ever so slowly, though still battling severe depression, to earn my Associate of the Arts degree in Psychology. I wanted to help people going through struggles like I was. And I met the person, who later moved in with us, who would become the woman I’d spend the next ten years viewing as the love of my life, my soul mate, my first wife.

That is, admittedly, a gutted summary of my time in what I refer to as The Fairy House. But it does give me an idea of who I’d like to gift it to. While this a short list of bullets, one’s that would be massaged and amended if I were to purchase, fix, and regift the property, this is who I’d want to give it to:

  • A couple or young family
  • Who were homeless or were struggling with homelessness
  • At least one attending college to work in psychology, social services, or some type of social justice work.

The only ask is that they’d complete their degree.

So that’s pretty much the essence of it. I’d do this for the ten or so residences I lived in. Some are apartment complexes so that would be interesting, but hey, why not, with that must $$$, purchase them, leave them rent free for struggling students, families, and the like? Why not turn another into a homeless shelter or a mid-way house? And why not use each of these be an example to others who are blessed by having too much money to know what to do with as to what they can do with it?

Skunk Works

One of the things I want to do on this blog is share ideas I have for building a better world. I have thousands of ideas but this is the first I am writing about.

This idea assumes I win the lottery. No shit. It’s just easier that way as I’m introverted by nature and don’t have a ton of energy (it comes in spurts).

What I want to do is hire half a dozen or so people, mostly programmers with backgrounds in the sciences, as part of a skunk works project. Their daily agenda:

* To brainstorm ways to improve the world via existing and upcoming technologies. As an addendum they would be tasked with writing software, including web sites, software, and mobile apps, to achieve smaller aims, and reach out to large companies suchs as Google, FaceBook, and Microsoft, to facilitate the creation of new ones. The team would obviously spend time writing patents and would recieve fair royalties on those, otherwise the patents would be nearly free for companies, organizations, and governments hoping to make them a reality.

Those are, quite frankly, the cliff notes.

Here are some examples of things they might do or work with other companies to create:

* Build a phone app that allows individuals to immediately get information about the products they intent on buying by simply taking pictures of their bar codes. For example, say I want to support companies that invest in sustainable agriculture. I could set the app up to tell me if a product did and also give me a list of products from companies that do. Say I don’t want to support a company that gives money to homophogic candidates. Same.
* Bulid apps to help network people involved in social justice issues.
* Build an AI to monitor all public finances so anyone can determine what individuals or companies support a given political candidate for instance. The idea, of coures, would be to make our financial institutions, companies, and governments, completely open and easily searched (like Google) by the average individual.
* Create apps that allow regular folk (esp. blue collar workers) to invest in things that matter to them.
* Create apps that would allow ideas for solving problems from around the world to be shared in a common forum. For example, how have some countries solved homelessness and poverty? Or how has another made voting more fair? How has another provided every citizen affordable health care? I know it’s a lofty goal, but with the technology at our fingertips we should be able to have a centralized place to share solutions to common problems in easily digestable chunks.

I admit this is a high level, throwing it out there. Still crossing my thing on the lottery thang.