Monday, August 31, 2009

Is Sarcasm the New Sincerity?

Had an interesting discussion with my younger brother about how flippancy and sarcasm are the dominant tone in popular and advertising culture. Wondered if that's because politicians work very hard to sound sincere, and none of us believe them anymore.

If sincerity is the new flag for b.s., is sarcasm the new sincerity?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Coming Soon! (Well, in Eight Weeks)

Check out our Ersatz Registry!

Read about Our Song!

Look at a profound thought or two from Nicole!

See Kira! See Kira jump!

...and then come to our wedding party.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First day

Kira's favorite part of school was recess--probably the part best designed for the way a five-year-old is built to learn: by exploring everything, rather than trying to sustain focus to work towards an arbitrary goal.

I spent all day at a training meaning trying to sustain focus while being told how to work towards a number of abstract goals. And now Kira is begging me to type:

who s

(She had wanted me to tell her how to type "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?", but after finding the 's',--"in her mind," she told me--she got distracted by the other keys. "Do we need a karma?" she asked. "No, we don't need a comma" I said. "If you need it, you have to press it" she told me. She's full of tips like that, a good teacher...if you can keep track of where she's wandered off to...)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kindergarten Eve

Kira starts kindergarten tomorrow, which may seem strange for a girl of her accomplishments. But that's just how kids are: seems like one minute they're going off to kindergarten, the minute before they're graduating.

Allow me to wax nostalgic for a few moments:

Oh, how I will miss those bygone days when Nicole was busy on her laptop as Kira typed away on her little pink toy computer! (which, for the record, is functioning better than Nicole's laptop at the moment)--Nicole trying to make an argument about the ethical value of autoethnography as a genre, Kira working on her own thesis, "about Jesus," she said.

Such is the brilliance of the women in my life. (Kira is also pretty good at the ABC song, especially when she sings it in her monster voice. And she knows a surprising number of U.S. states, even if she does constantly try to throw in Australia and Madagascar.)

In any case, here's to the school year of 2008-09, when the theses were completed and hard work rewarded with funny black robes. And here's hoping for the best for 2009-10 when Kira takes kindergarten and I try to finish my own three-letter degree.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vampioneers 1: The Everlasting Covenant

Was visiting some friends last week and noticed, nestled between Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and Gerald Lund's The Work and the Glory saga, a book I'd never heard of before. I guess it's the first of an still-unfinished trilogy about some Welsh vampires who join the early LDS church.

I was torn between a dismissive impulse and a morbid my life, morbid curiosity typically trumps condescension, so I borrowed it. I've been surprised: the book so far is actually quite good. The missionaries haven't shown up yet, though, do it might get corny yet (so far all that's really happened is that the village priest is noticing something's weird in the town, and the vampires are getting nervous because apparently his grandfather came pretty close to killing them. Got a cool building/foreboding feel at this point.)

Anyway, I'll let you know if it stays good. Otherwise, consider this post notification that the world is already weirder and writers are already more desperate for attention than you probably previously thought.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why Children Hate Math

I'm not about to join a cult like the Pythagoreans, but I'll be honest: I love math. There are several possible explanations for this:
-My Dad raised us on Raymond Smullyan books, so I always thought math was a game and not a serious subject, even if I sometimes screwed up solving problems and accidentally got prisoners eaten by tigers.
-I believe that God created the world around statistics, and that maybe statistics can do more to save lives than advances in technology (check out the war chapter in Atul Gawande's Better) .
-It is a sad fact that math classes tend to decrease students' interest in math. The last math class I took, however, was in a previous millennium. My appreciation for mathematical relationships has increased exponentially since then, as evidenced by much use of the word "exponential" to describe an emotional progression.

Because I love math, I tend to get frustrated when politicians talk about improving math education. I remember Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, for example, calling for more math teachers with master's degrees in mathematics: as if people who did well at math naturally would consequently be better teachers for those who struggle. Other politicians call for more math testing and heavier courseloads as if more math were automatically produced better math education. Sorry, folks, but that ain't the way this equation goes.

I'm also frustrated that most states still have a curriculum that is focused more on pushing as many students as possible as far toward calculus as possible, presumably on the assumption that we need better engineers to win the Cold War, as opposed to the reality that we need a general public that understand basic quantitive reasoning, are numerically literate, and don't shut down mentally and emotionally at the very sight of numbers.

It's not the politicians' fault, though. I am the reason children hate math.

I know this because I reduced my nephew-to-be to tears on Saturday night simply by counting. I wasn't even angry--I just wanted he and my daugher-to-be to put their (respective) pajamas on. And when they were slow, I started to count to five...

Braeden wept all the way up the stairs. Twenty minutes later, when he was finally getting to bed, he was still trying to tell me "I don't like it when you count because I think I'm going to get in trouble."

Now, a more casual observer might see nothing more in this incident than a nine-year-old who desperately needed to go to sleep and could have cried just as easily over not being able to find a pajama shirt he was already wearing. But a more clever, goldbergish observer can see the long-term repurcussions of such experiences. Years of counting to warn of impending punishment creates an association between numerical modes of expression and anxiety. Children subconsciously assume that too many numbers invariably lead to time-outs. No wonder they're afraid of math.

I don't know exactly how to solve this problem, and am certainly open to suggestions. My current thought is to replace the counting by naming Disney movies when children need to listen or hurry and discipline them if I reach The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think it's quite healthy for children to develop an inexplicable fear of that.

"Choose me or your pyre / I gonna sing about Hellfire"
That Disney let this dude sing a song is way creepier than
any math I've ever known.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Unofficial Wedding Registry

Nicole and I have been discussing the subject of wedding registry of late. We both prefer the Punjabi custom in which the bride and groom sit and have money dropped on their laps by well-wishers, but trusted sources tell us that many Americans feel like cash money "is icky" and should be kept away from wedding celebrations. What could we, who already have a full set of kitchenware, possibly want enough to justify transporting across the country, however?

A few things came immediately to mind:

Nothing says "Eternal Family" quite like this Gone
With The Wind
cookie jar, available for only $89.99
from Target.

A literal take on the Shakespearean saying "If music be the food
of love, play on." Turn the knob, and the European soldier "emits
a plaintive whooping sound" while moving his left arm up and
down as the tiger roars. Then crack out the keyboard and
play Chopsticks to your heart's content. This piece is not for sale,
but could be stolen from the V&A Museum in London.

If there's one kind of cash no sane American objects
to, it's Johnny Cash. And what better way to have him
in our home than reading the Bible on a follow-along
DVD? This could make years of Family Home Evening fun.

Goats are great for lawn maintenance and as property guards,
and are known as man's fifth-best friend. They transport well
if you eat them first. (Nicole is a vegetarian, but I can take care
of that part when the time comes.)

The most technologically-advanced part
of the average American kitchen, as shown
by this diagram, is the Rotary Egg Beater.
This appears to be one of the few pieces
we're missing, and we'd really like to find
a nice vintage one. Anything before 1964
will do.

Anyway, those are a few ideas on what you could get us. We're also seeing what we can do to get officially registered here, here, and here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


When medical bills come for various items related to cancer follow-up, I like to remind myself that the body is like a house for the soul, so these are basically rent payments. And I am rather large, so it only makes sense that the rent should be more than for most bodies of a similar age.

The one thing I don't understand is why bodies in worse condition invariably cost more. I mean, would you really want to pay more for a house which had had a portion amputated? How does that make sense?

Perhaps a health care reform bill will soon pass and I'll be able to work off medical bills by spending several hours a week filling out forms, or waiting on hold on the phone. That kind of sweat-equity system is appealing to me. In the current private system, the insurance people I talk to refer me to other people, who don't appear to be at work any time I think of calling and never respond to messages. As Dr. Horrible once wisely said, the status is not quo.

The best possible solution, of course, would involve insurance companies and government working together to deport all sick or damaged persons to Thailand, Singapore, and other areas with high medical standards for relatively low medical costs. But until they pool together the funds to deport me, I'll stay right here and get needles to the arm from well-paid American citizens, thank you very much.

They'll only drip a little.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time Management

I've been feeling a decline in my productivity lately and a corresponding case of blah holding me in its all-too-familiar embrace. In order to break free from the bands of blahness, I have decided to map out how I spend my time each day. The averages for this week:

Unsettled sleeping: 8 hours (33%)
In the 19th Century: 4 hours (16%)
Talking: 3.5 hours (14%)
Lost in Space: 3 hours (12%)
Writing: 2 hours (8%)
Commuting to and from the 19th century: 1.5 hours (6%)
Kissing: 1.5 hours (6%)
Half-awake trying to escape weird dreams: 1.4 hours (6-ish%)
Doing random crap: 1.2 hours (5%)
Eating: 1 hour (4%)
Nocturnal Reading: .5 hours (2%)
Showering, brushing teeth, combing bangs: .3 hours (1%)
Singing with/to Kira: .1 hours (not enough%)

Not terribly encouraging, I'm afraid. Even gaining four hours by taking a lower-paying job in a previous century hasn't created as much free time as I'd hoped. If I burn my leisure books, stop doing random crap, and give up on my bangs, I should be able to save 1.8 hours per day, though. I'll try to update you next week on whether I meet those goals (unless I've failed and don't want to talk about it).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Important Historical Research

Since running across the Existential Adventure interactive blog a few weeks ago, I've developed an interest in the history of the Choose Your Own Adventure genre. It turns out the form has a rich history that is interwoven with multiple aspects of American History. This week's find: two intersections between the Choose Your Own Adventure form and the Civil Rights Movement.

Tool of Oppression

You may know that in several southern states, prior to victories of the civil rights movement, new voters whose grandfathers had not been registered to vote (read: African-Americans) were required to pass "literacy tests" in order to qualify. These tests were notoriously difficult: an Alabama test included questions such as "At what time of day on January 20 each four years does the term of the president of the United States end?" and "In what year did the Congress gain the right to prohibit migrations of persons to the states?"

A 1964 Mississippi test went a step further, requiring potential black voters to successfully complete a civics-based "Choose Your Own Adventure" book as "proof" of their preparedness. (Excerpt: "If you are white, turn to page 5. If you are black, turn to the page where you have to run screaming from the Ku Klux Klan...")

Redeeming the Genre's Legacy

What you may not know is that in 1990, Anne Bailey successfully co-opted the art form of the oppressor to produce the first civil-rights-movement-inspired "Choose Your Own Adventure" title, You Can Make a Difference.

In the book, Martin Luther King's ghost comes to visit you and won't go away until you can accomplish his vision of creating a poor people's coalition and ending the war in Vietnam. This may seem easy, since the Vietnam War is already over--but beware! The ghost of J. Edgar Hoover will go to great lengths to stop you. (Hint: whenever he's closing in, always choose to turn left. The same applies, incidentally, when fleeing Derek Zoolander.)

Random Tangential Meditation

Further parallels between Hoover and Zoolander are worth pondering: what might these renowned Americans have in common?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Strange Dreams (part two)

Three nights in a row now, I've woken up because of dreams.

The night between Tuesday and Wednesday, it was three dreams of fire.

The night between Wednesday and Thursday, it was a jail cell in our house, several pairs of scissors, and Kirstin with a gun.

Last night, it was a minor accident in what must have been a National Park or something followed by utter chaos.

The Wednesday-Thursday Dream

We were at Nicole's house, having a lovely time--the first floor was made up almost entirely of a massive kitchen with a long bar, and we were making sandwiches. Nicole's dad was there, except that in the dream he looked like that guy from Northern Exposure and ran a small prison cell in part of the first floor, somewhere behind the bar.

He looks harmless, but if this guy shows
up in your dream, plan on a long night.

While we were eating and laughing, the police brought a prisoner in. He looked vaguely like Temuera Morrison:

but younger, and almost eerily calm. I mean, I knew, the way you just know certain things in dreams, that he was very upset at being imprisoned, but he was also reasonably sure he would get released. And I knew, the way you know in both dreams and movies, that he would want some sort of revenge. He looked at Nicole on the way into prison and I wished her dad didn't run the prison in the house.

I don't remember exactly what happened next: we were playing a game, I think, and then we went upstairs, but the whole time I was wondering when he was going to try to break out. Time bent somehow, I guess, because by the time we got upstairs I knew it had been at least a full day he'd been in there and was starting to wonder when they were going to transfer him to the county or state prison instead of the house. Maybe that's what Nicole's dad went to check on because he wasn't there by the time I glanced out the window to see a car pull up in the alley next to the house. A girl and three guys from the prisoner's gang got out, looked around, and moved toward the wall of the prison part of downstairs. I motioned to Nicole, her sister Kirstin, and her daughter Kira to be very quiet and move toward the other side of the house so that maybe no one would realize anyone was home.

On the way, I noticed a pair of scissors and had this image of the prisoner picking them up on his way in and using them as a weapon against us. As we progressed toward the doorway into a separate room on the far side of the house, I noticed and collected three more pairs. We snuck into the room and quietly closed the door. Then Kirstin got out a gun and stood against the far wall, facing the door, ready to fire on whoever walked in.

I took the other girls and went to a corner of the room to hide. I remembered hearing once that most people aren't very good shots when they're nervous, and wondering how Kirstin would be able to do if it came to that--her nerves are such that it probably wouldn't make a difference. I'd be far more likely to shoot wildly than her. I also remembered advice, was it from my grandfather's grandfather?, that having a gun as protection against robbery often simply meant that a robbery was more likely to turn violent or fatal. Was the gun a good idea? There were five of them, after all.

We waited, and I imagined the now-free prisoner coming up the stairs, wondering if it was really happening or if they had simply left. I imagined him turning the corner, and assessing the situation before making a move for the door.

I woke up.

My first thought was that we were idiots and should have used our cell phones to quietly call 911. My second thought was that in a town where Nicole's father kept prisoners on the first floor for a little extra income, the police were not likely to want to come and face five criminals of some repute. They would probably simply wait out events and come file a report later. (This is, incidentally, how things worked when my grandfather was a child in his village in India.)

My next thought, as my mind moved further away from the half-dream world of being not quite asleep, was that the constant fear of violence is exactly what people lived through in Joseph Smith's day, and during much of the history of the world. Who are we to judge a past filled with fears we can scarcely comprehend?

Last Night

Nicole and I were driving in a minivan on a dirt road, something vaguely like this:

It must have been in a National Park or other area of interest, though, because up ahead I noticed there were empty cars pulled a little off to the side of the road on each side. For some reason, I couldn't slow down, or didn't think to slow down, and tried to drive between them without hitting either at regular speed instead. I thought I'd done fine, but Nicole said I'd grazed the one on the right and we'd have to pull over and see if we could find the driver or else leave a note.

I pulled over and we got out. We went to look at the car I'd grazed to see if there was any damage, and on the left side I'd hit, the damage appeared to be very slight. On the right side, however, there was significantly more damage. There was a long scrape and a hole on the side. The front right wheel appeared to be bent. I couldn't have caused that, I reasoned. Or could I have?

We couldn't see the driver anywhere and were about the leave a note, but then he appeared. (The best description I can give is that he looked like a worn-out, second-rate version of Tom Cruise.)

Some would argue that Tom Cruise is already
worn-out and second-rate, and maybe always

He was very upset--he was sure that getting hit was show up on his accident records and raise his insurance premiums, so he wanted us to just give him cash on the spot. I wasn't about to do that, and we started to argue. I realized then that maybe our car had actually pulled and not simply grazed his, and that the damage on the right could be a result of our collision on the left. I wasn't sure I wanted to tell him that, though, but I knew I should.

While I was debating, he decided simply to drive his car and see if it would work. I was the only one who had noticed the bent wheel, and thought I should tell him about it, but hesitated because I didn't want him to blame me (probably correctly) and make me pay for it. While I hesitated, he climbed into the car and pressed the accelerator down all the way.

The car lurched forward, sped up, and then (due, no doubt, to the bent wheel), flipped over in the air and landed upside-down. The driver climbed out and stumbled away just before the car exploded. The sage brush and other parched vegetation started lapping up the flames--we had started a wildfire.

I moved toward the minivan, which, in the hole-ridden logic of dreams, had since moved back perhaps twenty feet. Nicole, thankfully, was closer and would reach it and turn around very soon so that we could escape. The dirt was somehow impeding my progress, though--I wasn't sinking, but I was still moving forward as though in quicksand or chest-deep water.

Other tourists were rushing back toward the road to escape the fire. The driver of the car I'd grazed was back on the road, too. They were shouting towards me, but in an extension of constricted feeling of water, I could barely hear them. I finally realized that they were asking how many seatbelts we had free so they would know how many could be rescued. I held up five fingers as I continued to push against the resistance toward the minivan with all my strength, and tried to figure out how to tell them all to pile in and not worry about seatbelts, as life was on the line.

Then again, what were the odds that we would make it to the car and out of the park before the flames enveloped us? They were already racing ahead of the van on the sides of the road--would we really be safe on the road? Nicole was waiting, we were all pushing forward against the horrible mud-slow feeling, and we were probably doomed.

I woke up.

What's with the fire dreams?

I did a quick search on what dreams of fire may mean, and got everything from transformation to anger to passion to alchemy to God. Friends have suggested fever, marshmallow cravings, fear of anti-itch creams, as alternatives. Adam says all bad dreams can be blamed on too much TV. Gloria said maybe the dreams are signs of the impending Apocalypse, but then again, she also said that about my evil carebear dreams.

The end of the world? Or the ultimate s'more party?

Only reader Robert S., in fact, has thus far ruled anything out. He comments that fire dreams don't seem related in any way to the physical temperature of the room.

Is there an explanation for all this insanity? Is there a way to end the pattern and sleep through the night?

This picture makes me think of
cheese--both metaphorical and
literal--more than passion. Maybe
I'm just craving quesodillas...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mahmoud's Facebook--some updates

I've been so busy mourning Gidget, I haven't gotten around to updating anyone on the situation in Iran. Apologies to my faithful readers, although I'm sure that those of you who remember the glory days of that plagiarized, stereotype-pandering icon will understand (for those of you who don't click on links, the icon I'm describing is the Taco Bell Chihuahua, not the President of Iran. Confusing; I know. Bear with me.)

In any case, here are some highlights from

Split System on facebook

July 17: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elevates Rahim Mashaie to the office of 1st Vice President (Iran has 12 VPs) on the same day that he confirms him in the "We're Related!" application.

July 18: Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i writes on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's wall at 8 am Tehran time: "What makes him think he can get away with putting his pansy-in-law a heartbeat from the Presidency?" Indeed. Why would someone who had sloppily inflated his election numbers feel bold and empowered after key establishment figures declared the election "the cleanest in Iran's history"? I wonder...
The Supreme leader writes back on Mohseni-Eje'i's wall: "Consider the problems solved" and gives Mahmoud Ahmadinejad written notice that he should fire Rahim Mashaie. About an hour later, I notice that Mahmoud's gchat status has been changed to "Aretha Franklin--Respect" Coincidence?

"You cut me deep--I thought you trusted me."

July 22: Mahmoud tags all of his friends in a note: "1,000 reasons why I like Rahim Mashaei" Mohseni-Eje'i unfriends both of them.

July 23: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei pokes Mahmoud, but no one on facebook knows what a poke even means.

July 24: Rahim Mashaie decides to comply with the Supreme Leader's order and simply resign. Mahmoud's status: "is pissed."

July 26: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fires Intelligence Minister Mohseni-Eje'i. Mahmoud Status update: "Take That, Suckas!" Mohseni-Eje'i's friend Saffar Harandi subsequently unfriends Ahmadinejad and resigns as Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance before he can be formally sacked. Mahmoud starts counting ministers--if he gets above 50% turnover he automatically needs a vote of confidence in Parliament by Iranian law (and quite frankly, he's tired of stuffing ballot boxes).

Saffar Harandi is now looking for a job, which is hard
when your old boss has tanked the whole economy

July 31: Mahmoud invites members of the group Iranian Politicians to the event "My Inauguration: August 5th, Baby!"

"A banner? 'Congrats on the Landslide' or something?
I banners make me look old? Be honest."

August 2: Status: "Mahmoud is tired of people who won't even bother to confirm on important event invitations. Sheesh!"

August 3: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei's relationship status changes to "It's Complicated"

August 5: From the album "Inauguration PAR-tay!":

Someone give this man a hug, preferably before he develops nuclear weapons.

Waste Not, Get Bribed

You've heard the scary facts:
-the peoples of the industrialized world are making a collective mad dash toward peak oil, the point at which world oil production begins to decrease due to scarcity even as demand rises.
-the gasoline wasted on a single trip to Walmart with one of today's inefficient cars could be used in sixty years to operate a hyper-efficient, lightweight tractor enough to feed a family of four for a month. Since you've already used that gasoline, though, your grandchildren will probably just starve.
-for every pound of coal burned in a power plant to heat and cool the oversized houses we've been building in undesirably hot locations, four additional pounds need to be burned to generate electricity that will simply be lost as heat of the power lines on their way to their destination.
-by 2050, Frosty and his fellow snowmen will be hunted nigh unto extinction for their eyes, as American bison once were for their tongues.

A snowman gives up running (ca. 2046)

Odds are, though, that you, like most people, don't respond well to scary facts.

That's why the government has decided to bribe you instead (an interesting reversal from a longstanding tradition of government bribes going the other direction). They are now offering a complicated diagram which suggests that you could qualify for up to $4,500 toward a new car if its fuel efficiency is at least ten miles per gallon better than an old one you agreed to have smelted on the spot.

Where does the government get the money for this program? you may ask. The answer is outlined in another complicated diagram I've lost the link for. Basically, the idea is that poor Chinese factory workers invest the majority of their savings in U.S. treasury bills in the hopes of keeping the U.S. economy healthy as a market for cheap, tainted toys. The U.S. spends a portion of this money hiring bureaucrats to misfile T-bill purchaser information to prevent a future default on debts and then spends the remainder stimulating pieces of the economy, after careful consideration, more or less at random.

In my view, the "Cash for Clunkers" bill has largely vindicated random government action. Probably entirely by accident, the bill has includes far-sighted elements where energy is concerned, and has the shorter term side effect of getting some government money back to recently-obtained government automotive businesses.

The only thing I could hope for at this point is that the government followers up the "Cash for Clunkers" legislation in twenty years or so with an even more visionary "Huts for Houses" bill that enables people to trade away their McMansions for hovels and firewood.

Who knows? We might just need it.

Strange Dreams

The first time, I was in Orem Library when it started burning down. I don't know how I knew at the beginning that it was burning, or what started the fire (perhaps it was simply Spontaneous Literary Combustion), but I was doing my best to get everyone safely out. I was almost ready to leave the building myself when I realized--I'd left the family menorah in there! I couldn't let it burn. I rushed back to pick it up and started out, and then remembered I'd left my own silver menorah, and went back for it. I found it quickly, and, clutching both menorahs, tried to get out again--when I realized I'd forgotten another menorah. And then another. The flames were closing in as I was running out and I woke up in a sweat wondering what on earth I'd been doing trying to save four menorahs in this stupid fire dream and why I still felt so panicked.

Twenty minutes later, I was back asleep.

The second time was somewhere else on Center Street in Orem. My brother was showing me a childhood home, although even in the dream I couldn't remember ever having lived there. He still lived there, though. It was like a crowded tenement building: a long, thin room like a hallway was stacked with bunkbeds so tight you could barely squeeze through; maybe two dozen boys were sharing this single room. The building was owned by my grandparents. Except that, even in the dream, I knew they didn't look like my real grandparents. But there was no time to worry about that because school was about to start and I needed to help Matt move out. It was so crowded and hot, though--something had caught fire! That's when I remembered that all of Orem Center street was made up of these run-down tenements: they whole street was likely to go up in flames. We tried to force our way out of the building anyway, hoping to survive by huddling in the middle of the street.

And I woke up. Again. Terrified.

The sun was coming up now and I didn't want to fall asleep again, but my body was so tired. I thought maybe I'd read, but I couldn't wrench my eyes open to find the book. I thought I'd grab my phone but it was nowhere. My mind started looking around since my hands were out of commission and it noticed a strange thing--Hanukah menorahs were saved from a fire, when they themselves are symbols of a festival of oil and light! Oil, just like the oil under the bed and running down the walls. They are also symbols of the temporary, unsettled sense of peace you get when you run out of a burning tenement into a burning street, which is also something like writing this blog and wait, perhaps those fake grandparents were my neighbors when I was young, but oh no they couldn't be because my neighbor (in my early morning awake/asleep memory) looked more like Dallin Oaks and who had been that fake grandfather in the dream? He was bald, certainly, but shorter and with a whole different kind of expression and if I could only get a closer look...but no, he was wrapped in shadows--where was that candle? I could light it and put it on a menorah and see his face but the candle was with my phone and why wasn't the alarm ringing? And oh the candle was there, but why was it already lit and oh no the oil, and my carpet and my walls and isn't it hot in here this morning--

And I woke up. Again.

Having had a rough night.
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